Woman With Banjo Arrested in Philadelphia–Up to Eight Officers Participate in Take-Down

Late breaking news on this holiday weekend.  A woman named Emily Yates wearing a banjo around her neck was arrested by Federal Park Police at a Syria War Protest rally in Philadelphia on Friday.Iraq war veteran Emily Yates was arrested on Friday after a dispute with police about where she could stand while playing her banjo during a protest against U.S. military action in Syria.

Yates who served her country (The United States of America) in the Iraq war says she was doing nothing illegal and repeatedly requested that the arresting officers tell her why she was being asked to leave the park but they gave no answer.

After several minutes of discussion 2 police officers bent Yates over a park bench and handcuffed, choked and brutalized  her while she screamed, “you’re damaging my body and damaging my property – I’ve done nothing illegal.”  With her voice at the breaking point, Yates yelled to the crowd for help, “Help! Help! Help! she said, stop manhandling me...I’ve done nothing illegal.”

Numerous spectators were filming the incident with phone cameras and a host of videos have sprung up all over the internet’s popular sharing sites.    Due to the language that can be heard on the video we have made an editorial decision not to include it here in this post but it is readily accessible with a query for: “Woman with Banjo Arrested”

It’s an unfortunate circumstance that has caught the attention of the music world due to the banjo hanging around Yates’ neck at the time of her arrest.  Sympathy for Yates and her situation did not deter comments of sympathy for the banjo with one post saying; “it *hurt* to hear it suffer.”

At the time of this posting, police are continuing to hold yates at an undisclosed location and a grass-roots defense fund has been quickly set up with a goal of $15,000 and a post-time tally of nearly one third already raised.  According to the website, “We are not being told where she is being held and she has not been allowed any communication with the outside world.”

It is clear from the video that there is much more to this story than what we know at this time.


Anonymous said...

Nothing to make light of when a US citizen not to mention a US war veteran is treated brutally for exercising the constitutional right of peaceful protest. Yes,boys...even a female banjo playing peacnic. Ms. Yates was protesting the plan for military action in Syria.

Anonymous said...

The shame of this whole situation is that people think that being female and/or a vet provides some "special excuse" for disregarding the law and those that enforce it.
She was clearly told that the area she was in was closing, and that at 5:15 she would be escorted out if she refused to leave.
When will people learn that every action and choice has a consequence?

And, as a side note, when did Prescription Bluegrass become a political venue just because there is a banjo in the picture?

Prescription Bluegrass Blog said...

Dear Anonymous,
Your points are well put. As for Prescription Bluegrass becoming a political venue, we're not sure just what that implies. We report the news. While it is not stated or clear that Emily Yates was playing bluegrass in the park, we felt the story had merit regardless of a reader's specific views. It is true that the Banjo was our connection and nothing else. But it is simply news reporting and whether you agree or disagree with the situation or the outcome, aren't you glad we live in a country were the press is free to report what happened so that you have the chance and the choice to comment about it rather than not knowing about it? We also post many of our stories on the Banjo Hangout and I'm sure that not all of the readers there play strictly bluegrass or perhaps ANY Bluegrass.

Statistically, Emily Yates' story was the most read story on Prescription Bluegrass in any one single day in our history so apparently there were many who felt it worthy of their time to read.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to express your views.

Brian McNeal
Prescription Bluegrass

Anonymous said...

Points well taken. No issues here, I just hate to see anything musical get "drug down" into the mire that we have to live in the rest of the time.
Keep up the good work!