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4 June 2020, 15:01 | Updated: 4 June 2020, 15:02
Footage has emerged of a trumpeter being arrested after playing his instrument to a formation of police officers and security guards, during protests in Seattle.
As people take to streets across the US – and globally – to protest against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minnesota police, music’s role in conflict appears as significant as it ever has been.
A video has emerged of a trumpeter in Seattle (US), playing his instrument while standing on a bucket in the middle of a street littered with debris.
Standing by, a formation of police officers and National Guard members watch him play. All appears amicable, until a few minutes into the video when six officers rush towards the trumpeter and arrest him (watch below).
The trumpeter’s arrest was live streamed in the early hours of 4 June, following what started as a peaceful day of demonstrations at Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park.
Trumpet guy came back and got arrested.Posted by Jessica Frost on Wednesday, 3 June 2020
An hour or so before his arrest (around 11.30pm), people from the once-peaceful protest reportedly started throwing objects, including water bottles, at officers and guard members. After that, the National Guard reportedly deployed tear gas and protestors scattered.
Around half past midnight, as the streets fell quiet, the trumpeter – since dubbed ‘Seattle Trumpet Guy’ – took out his instrument and started busking. His performance was live streamed on Facebook by user Jessica Frost, who captured the moment from her apartment window.
After the musician is seized by officers, Frost’s friend is heard yelling from the window: “He had a ****ing trumpet, not a gun.”
Moments later, Frost confirms: “Well, Trumpet Man has been arrested. He just stood on that bucket and played trumpet, and everyone was into it for a little while, there but then he was arrested.”
Since the video – now seen by a quarter of a million people – was posted, people have been asking what happened to the trumpeter, and offering to help.
One user commented: “If they broke or damaged his trumpet, I pledge to buy him a new one.”
Another, Mikey Taylor, set up a GoFundMe page which already has $440 of donations. He writes: “Throughout the peaceful protesting in Seattle, Washington, one man has taken it upon himself to give us the lovely sounds from his trumpet.”
Further down the page, Taylor claims that police refused to give the musician back his trumpet after releasing him from arrest.
He says: “After releasing him, [the Seattle police] would not give it back to him. So, I have decided to raise money to help this man get a new trumpet for the good fight.”
Unfortunately the trumpeter’s intentions are currently unclear, with varying reports on social media. While many Twitter users support his music-making and are urging people to help pay his bail charge, others have reported the trumpeter was “egging people on” and “antagonising the situation”.
One Twitter user wrote: “Guys the trumpet guy is egging people on on the front line, saying it’s not a protest but a revolution, be careful he’s on the front line by the police.”
Another added: “I stood next to him today & he decided to p** into a plastic bottle & tossed it over the barricade at the police. When we called him out for using his privilege as a white man to antagonise the situation he said he ‘doesn’t identify as white’.”
Since the protests began, there have been multiple reports of police responding to peaceful protestors across the US with excessive force, including battering and using pepper spray.
Most of the anti-police brutality protests have been happening peacefully, but some have taken a more volatile turn. Some images show protestors vandalising property – including a piano store – and setting fire to police cars.