Saturday, August 15, 2015
NIZ Squad Arrests Man Singing Outside Shula's
Sarah Varjassy, a bartender at Bethlehem's Bayou, shot the video you see above, of Allentown police, accompanied by either Mormons or the Men in Black, arresting a man who was singing outside Shula's on Friday. On the bright side, he was not tased.
He's collateral damage in FedEd's war on Allentown's poor and homeless.
The Men in Black are actually security guards for the Strata Condos above Shula's. The fellow who was hauled away apparently walks by there everyday, singing. He is regarded as harmless and is the kind of phenomenon who makes urban life interesting.
But the MIZ (Millionaire Improvement Zone) was never intended to create a vibrant downtown. It is just another artificial Promenade.
It is certainly possible police had a reason to arrest this man, but nothing he was doing in that video is a justification for what happened, or the force used.
Varjassy's video surfaced at Lehigh Valley With Love. Blogger Michael Molovinsky comments, "mr. reilly's business interests must be protected at all costs. perhaps the art's walk should be renamed, taser alley."
Scott, the restaurant manager at Shula's, denied that he made a call to complain. But he added, "It's not right that he does what he does. The police asked him to leave and he resisted," Scott claims, though the video seems to tell a different tale. He added that this man interferes with the "dining experience."
I could imagine patrons looking out Shula's window with their mouths full of dead cows and blurting, "Ugh, poor people!"
"I think the police do a very good job down here," Scott concluded.
August 16, 2015
Updated 10:40 am: - The crooner who appears to have been assaulted by Allentown police is James Ochse. In February 2014, he was arrested by Allentown police after a disturbance inside their 10th Street station in which re reportedly yelled obscenities and then ran off. Officers followed him and pushed him into a snpow bank, where a struggle ensued and he allegedly bit an officer's finger. His attorney filed a motion to preserve the video of that incident, but Ochse ultimately entered a guilty plea to resisting arrest. Other charges were dropped. Judge Kelly Banach imposed a sentence of six months probation.
In 2013, he was charged with trespass after breaking into his ex-wife's house while she was away and sleeping in the house. He spent some time in jail after that incident.
So he has a history, but that's no justification for a police assault.
Updated 5:10 pm.: - A second video shot by restaurant patron Louisa Rans Soos shows pretty much the same thing as Varjassy's video. This one is a bit closer and you can see that the officer is not wearing gloves, as I originally thought, and that his sunglasses are perched. According to Soos, "Beautiful night and a nice serenade until the cops show up at minute 2:15. The guards said he touched the officer but I don't see that on my video and neither did the other 15 or so witnesses. Was it really necessary to throw him to the ground especially since he was walking away?! Some heard his head hit the pavement. 3 cop cars, 1 police van, and a bike cop later, he was taken away. Apparently a grumpy elder called the cops because he didn't like the noise of his singing. Seriously?