NEW ORLEANS — It was about 9:30 p.m. Monday when the officers arrived at Frenchmen and Chartres streets.
Within moments, cellphones were out, and one was streaming live to Facebook. That video captured police holding 27-year-old Eugene Grant to the ground.
The popular trumpet player would later be arrested on charges including resisting an officer.
Grant walked out of New Orleans Municipal Court on Tuesday morning after city attorneys said they would refuse the charges against him, but the video angered many in the city’s music community and put the New Orleans Police Department on the defensive after the video garnered more than 20,000 views.
Grant and others who work on Frenchmen Street said the fracas began after employees at Frenchmen Art and Books called the NOPD on the band.
Grant, who is developmentally disabled, said that the bookstore’s new owners have complained recently about the band playing near the business’ front door.
But Grant and his attorney, Aubrey Harris, said street musicians are what make the neighborhood so unique.
"This is a city that's known for music. That's part of the culture and what this city is known for,” Harris said outside the courthouse. “People come here for that."
The book store’s new owners did not respond to a request for comment from WWL-TV.
Grant said officers arrived at the corner and were abrupt with their orders for the Slow Rollas Band to move away from the book store’s front doors and to let traffic pass.
But the NOPD tells a different story.
"At that time ... Grant struck one of the officers in the chest with his instrument, damaging the officer's body-worn camera,” the statement reads in part. “After striking the officer with his instrument, Grant refused repeated requests by both officers and citizens to calm down, forcing the officers to detain Grant until backup arrived."
The NOPD said that’s what led officers to book Grant with obstructing public passages and resisting an officer.