From the stage to the slammer
ASPEN A young man jumped on stage Friday at Belly Up Aspen for an “American Idol” moment – but his five minutes of fame ended in the Pitkin County Jail.Tyler Carpenter, 25, admitted that he’d had a few too many drinks and jumped on the Belly Up stage early Saturday morning during a set with the funk band Particle.Carpenter claims that the band had no problem with his antics, and he “just wanted to talk” when Aspen police pounced on him.In municipal court Wednesday, Carpenter pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing and got a $100 fine, a suspended sentence and a chance for a clean record – with a stipulation of one year with no further incidents.
Shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday at Belly Up, Aspen officers approached Carpenter, who smiled and ignored them, according to the police report. Then Carpenter grabbed a handrail, refusing to let go.Officers tried to pry Carpenter off the rail, then urged him not to resist before using a pressure-point technique to dislodge him from the bar and take him into custody, police said.”It’s kind of like a charley horse,” said Matt Burg, an Aspen patrol officer who arrived on scene with two other officers, Sterling Seamans and Mike Tracey. “That’s the next level we go to.”Burg said Carpenter later registered a blood alcohol content of 0.176, more than twice the legal limit to drive in Colorado, and struck a posture of “defensive resistance,” ignoring officers’ orders and being belligerent.”It was your typical obnoxious drunk guy,” Burg said, adding that Carpenter struggled with officers, refusing to go up the bar steps, told officers their mothers didn’t love them and shouted, “I’m an American!”
“It was kind of a weird situation,” Burg said. “He was just being cantankerous.”Officers took Carpenter to the Pitkin County Jail, where he posted a $200 bond. His sister picked him up.Carpenter, a former Denver resident who has been living abroad for the last three years, said he is passing through and works odd jobs as a carpenter and a teacher.Carpenter admitted being embarrassed about how he acted Friday and remembers calling the police names in the squad car, but said police force was excessive.”I know they punched me in the legs a lot before I let go of the bar,” Carpenter said. He said police pulled his hair, put a foot on his neck and shouted repeatedly for him to “stop resisting” when he was face-down and compliant.
“I’m a skinny little dude,” Carpenter said. “They kept telling me to calm down and stop resisting,” he said.”There was just no talk. It was just all their way or no way,” Carpenter said. “I never expected the cops to just start punching me.”Carpenter said police later struck him with a phone book when he was cuffed.Carpenter said he would have “no leg to stand on” to press charges and said he just hopes to put the incident in the past.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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