Mc5 Attacked By Police On Job--john Sinclair, Fred Smith Beaten, Maced, Arrested--charged With Assaulting Police Officers
Mc5 Attacked By Police On Job--john Sinclair, Fred Smith Beaten, Maced, Arrested--charged With Assaulting Police Officers
Poet -SUN editor-MC5 manager John Sinclair and MC5 guitarist Fred Smith were brutally assaulted, beaten, MACEd, and arrested by members of the National Security police and the Oakland County Sheriff's Department while performing at a teen-club in Oakland County last Tuesday, July 23rd, on the first anniversary of the Detroit people's rebellion of 1967. The two victims of police terrorism were charged with assault and battery of a police officer and are presently free on $2500 bond pending their pre-trial examination September 12th before Oakland County Justice of the Peace Kenneth Hempstead, who arraigned them and set the exorbitant bond. The charge is a high misdemeanor and carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.
The scene took place at The Loft, a teen - club located at 130 Army Road in Leonard, Michigan (between Pontiac and Lapeer in Oakland County), where the MC5 had been contracted to play a dance job. Loft owner Harold O. Boumer had contracted the MC5 there before on two previous occasions and had bounced checks on the band for those jobs totalling $394.00. Sinclair, who manages the MCS, agreed to the July 23rd booking, arranged by agent Mike Quatro, in order to collect the money owed the band by Boumer, who had stipulated in his contract with the band that the past debts would be paid in full in cash before the MC5 went on stage and that ‘the band would also receive 40% of the night's gross receipts as their pay for the July 23rd job.
When the band arrived, however, they were confronted by the Loft's rent-a-pigs, and told by Captain Kenneth Osborne "not to play that song with motherfucker in it." When they went inside, Boumer apologized for Osborne's actions and said he had nothing to do with it. He didn't have the $394.00 and offered Sinclair $100.00 in front and all the night's gate receipts if the MC5 would play. Sinclair conferred with the band, who decided to do it because there was a large appreciative audience who would have been cheated by the clubowners’ dirty work. Sinclair took the $100 and the band went on stage.
The rent-a-pigs had the house announcer stop the show after the band had played "Ramblin’ Rose," "Kick Out the Jams," and "Come Together;" the first three songs in a scheduled hour-and-a-half show (which was finally completed Friday night at the Michigan Union Ballroom at a benefit for the Ann Arbor Resistance). The band asked the audience if they should stop and were told to keeping in no uncertain terms by the paying customers. The band went into “Black to Comm," their legendary closing piece, and ended the show, cleared the stage, and began packing up to leave the creep scene.
Meanwhile the Rent- a-pigs had apparently called the Oakland County Sheriff's Dept and reported a riot situation, and they blockaded the exits so that no one could leave the club. They figured they'd better have a riot situation when the official pigs arrived, so they created one, or tried to. Sinclair was checking the stage area to make sure everything had been packed and carried off--the rest of the band and the equipment crew were waiting downstairs to get out--when owner Boumer arrived at the stage to talk to Sinclair. Boumer again apologized for his police and begged Sinclair to have the equipment brought back up so the NCS could play a second set! Sinclair was amazed at this development and promptly told Boumer that he was stone crazy and that he'd better start controlling his pigs or he wouldn't have a club left because the paying customers wouldn't stand for it. Boumer kept talking about a second set and dodging the money issue when the rent-a-pigs and the Oakland County Sheriff's Deputies, in riot gear, led by Osborne, appeared at the top of the stairs and marched toward the stage, where Sinclair and Boumer were sitting down talking business.
Osborne told Sinclair to get out in a pig-like snort. Sinclair asked him what he meant. Osborne repeated his abrupt command. Sinclair said he couldn't leave until he got the money. Osborne and his hired assistant brutally grabbed Sinclair by the arm and lifted him to his feet, and when he tried to free himself from their grip they jumped on him and threw him to the floor, beating him with clubs, nightsicks, fists, and blackjacks. During the melee Oakland Co. pig, D. Gilbert, badge no. 81, squirted Sinclair in the face with MACE, and another pig handcuffed him. Girls were screaming and crying, tHere was blood all over Sinclair's face and body and the floor, and the police were then beating Fred Smith, who had come up from downstairs when he heard the screams. The pigs apparently recognized Smith as a member of the band and two of them seized Fred and started. dragging him over into a corner, beating him and pushing him.
The two artists were taken to the Oakland County Jail and booked on charges of assault and battery on a police officers. The complaints were signed by D. Gilbert, who claimed Smith had jumped him. Osborne had no official capacity as a pig and was refused a warrant by the desk sergeant, so Gilbert had to sign his too. The men were held overnight and arraigned the next noon, when the. $2500 bond was set on each man. Sinclair was released at 1 am July 25th when his wife posted bond with the help of Wardford Bonding Agency and some close friends. Fred Smith's bond was also posted at this time but he was held on an old (1966) Oakland County warrant charging him with being a disorderly person.
Sinclair and Smith have pleaded NOT GUILTY to the charge and will fight it in court as well as file suit against Osborne, Boumer, the Loft, and National Security Police for damages sustained in the attack. The news media, were never informed of the assault by the police, who are trying to keep it all hid. Read this week's Fifth Estate for Sinclair's detailed account.
Donations to the Trans-Love Defense Fund are needed now more than ever. Please help us however you can--even a quarter will help - or you'll probably be next. The fascist creeps are trying to stomp ALL OF US out--DON'T LET THEM DO IT!
(July 23rd, Ann Arbor) What follows is a deposition written by Rob Tyner, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson of the MC5 upon their return from the Loft and the Oakland County Jail, where they had accompanied Fred Smith and John Sinclair as they were arrested and booked on charges of assaulting a police officer. Later TLE-SUN bring aspects of this deposition up to date, but this is the immediate news as it happened.
MC5 DEPOSITION 7/23/68
This is Rob, Wayne and Dennis of the MC5 speaking. We'll just run the facts of the latest pig scene as it happened to us.
We arrived at the Loft, to play our job and were immediately taken aside and told by a group of four "officers” that there could be no "four-letter words" on stage John told them he had a contract to do the job and there weren't any provisions other than that we were to work there. The dude who owns the club owed us $400 in back money, (and another $200 to the Up) for the last two jobs we played there, when he bounced checks an us and the Up. When we talked to him he said he only had a hundred dollars and would we accept the hundred and let him owe us the rest. There was a capacity crowd to see the shoe, so we decided to take the hundred and do one long set for the kids.
We went on as usual, Kramer singing "'Ramblin' Rose" and the kids dug it. Then Rob went on with "Kick Cut the Jams, Motherfucker," and "Come Together." At this point someone on the house p.a. stopped the show saying that the MC5 were through because we "broke the rules." The audience booed heavily and got pissed. So we asked on our p.a. whose rules they were talking about...and decided to keep on with our set. We were working for the kids and the owner and he hadn't told us or John anything about stopping.
We did one more tune and they said we had to get offstage so their folksinger could come on and sing about freedom and peace. We wanted to play the one the kids were waiting for and went directly into "Black to Comm" so we could at least finish our show before being dragged off the stage or until they shut the power off like before. So we finished and got off the stage and were told that the rent-a-pigs had called the local police.
When the six riot-equipped police units arrived (complete with electric cattle-prods, MACE, guns and nightsticks) the clubowner and the rent-a-pigs locked the doors of the club to contain the already riled-up crowd (chants of we want our money back & let the 5 finish). The kids found out that the doors were locked and really got pissed off. No show, no money ($2.00 to $2.50) plus being held against their will.
The police decided to clear the two-story club with the doors locked causing general panic, disorder and confusion. Here's where the shit went down. Our manager, John Sinclair (sitting onstage talking to the clubowner upstairs), was told to "GET OUT" by the head rent-a-pig (who gave us trouble the last time we played there). John wanted to finish his business with the owner and get the money and oversee the equipment operation, so he asked why should he leave. Immediately the head pig and one of his helpers grabbed John and tried to throw him out. When he tried to free himself they started beating his ass, and some more cops (Oakland County pigs) jumped on him, beating him and spraying him with MACE. Fred Smith (MC5 guitarist) seeing his brother getting the shit kicked out of him, charged to his side. He was also knocked down and beaten, and then dragged across the floor on his face and thrown against the wall. (At this time the rest of us were being thrown out the ground-level door--the beatings happened. upstairs in the dance floor- stage area). The crowd was screaming obscenities at the pigs and clubowner. The angry rock and roll fans were congregated outside running some incredibly raw shit at the pigs not to mention coke bottles and rocks. Several bales of hay leaning against the building were set ablaze but this was quickly extinguished.
At the Oakland County Jail (where Sinclair and Smith were being held) we were confronted by an astounding array of heavily-armed riot cops from the whole county. There were five brothers and a sister trying to get Sinclait and Smith out on bail. Me weren't allowed in the building. So there they sit, injured and enraged and we can't do a thing for,them until we know what the.story is. There'll be a complete follow-up story when we get the details.
(July 29th, Ann Arbor) As per the later report in. this release, Sinclair and Smith were booked on charges of “assault and battery on a police officer" and bail was set at $2500 apiece, which was posted on the 24th. Sinclair was freed at 1 am 7/25 but the pigs dug up an old (1966) warrant on Fred and held him until a fine could be paid for "disorderly person amounting to $60. The pigs told Fred that there were three more of the 1966 warrants--for Rob Wayne and Mike Davis--charging them with "disorderly person" too. The charges have to do with this job we played in West Bloomfield Township in July, 1966, where we all went skinny-dipping in a pool after a private. party gigs :. Somebody called the police but when they came everyone Was out of the pool and dressed, and no arrests were made. We had forgotten all about it until they nailed Fred with it.
On Sunday night, July 28th, we went to Oakland University to play a benefit for ALSAC: (Aid to Leukemia-Stricken American Children). Qn the way there we were met by Ron and Steve of our equipment crew who told us that the Oakland County pigs were laying an ambush scene for us at Oakland U, SO We turned around and went home. There were more than 10 cruisers waiting to jump us at the University as some fans came to our house after the gig and told us about . it. The Oakland Co. pigs also got another clubowner at Mt. Holly to cancel out our scheduled Booking for this Wednesday (31) because they told him that they expected trouble. We are really fucked up for money after putting out all that bond money and now they won even let us work to make some back.
More news as it happens.