Monday, May 18, 2009

Chief Joe Gaskin’s Email on “Must See TV” Improv Arrest

Chief Gaskins w/ Mayor Bowers

Chief Gaskins w/ Mayor Bowers

The Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church was a witness to the arrest of Improv performer, Katherine Gwaltney. The Pastor told Gaskins that the officer showed restraint.

In an email addressed only to Councilman Rupert Cutler following Cutler’s inquiry to Chief Gaskins regarding the “Must See TV” Improv event that resulted in the arrest of Katherine Gwaltney, Chief Joe Gaskins wrote:

“I am concerned that no one has mentioned that a permit should have been obtained for this gathering. Had a permit been obtained those involved would have been told not to block the sidewalk or the street … it was very unfortunate … if I could undo it I would certainly would do so. The clip does not show everything … the officer had been by before and explained they could not block the sidewalk …” CLICK HERE AND READ THE ENTIRE EMAIL as read by Cutler at the 2:00 PM Council meeting Monday, May 18.

Council woman Gwen Mason commented that it would have alleviated the negative response to the video had Gaskins come out with a statement immediately after the incident.

Related Article: City Code Violation That Was Enforced on “Must See TV”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Crime, Local Events

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Comments (5)


May 18th, 2009 at 8:11 PM    

Your site has issues! I am trying to read this article but an advertisement is flashing over the end of the right side of the column. I do however see where there is a claim by a Pastor about this incident. No disrespect to the Pastor, but I truly hope his word is not taken over all the video and still photography that exists of this incident. As for the permit, when inquired on, it was made clear only groups containing 6 or more people are required to have a permit. In watching three different video angles and also knowing who was participating in the event I can see the only people blocking any sidewalk are maybe two who moved (excluding the young woman arrested who was clearly not blocking pedestrians) and the rest who were pedestrians moving along or standing.


May 18th, 2009 at 8:14 PM    

Oh yes, I meant to mention on my first comment, one of the videos I viewed was mine. I was there and witnessed part of the arrest.


May 18th, 2009 at 11:06 PM    

“I fought the law and the law won” – that is a song by the way – an oldie but goodie. Gaskins seems a bit embarrassed. He is right that it all could have been avoided with notice.

Deda, you say however, that you contacted the police and they said you did not need a permit?


May 19th, 2009 at 10:16 AM    

I did not contact them. Another person in the performance took care of finding out what the permit requirements were. Also, there were two other officers on the scene who knew what was going on and had no problems with anyone. has an excellent video. You can see where the other officers were positioned during the event. There are several stories which have come to some attention about this particular officer’s over aggressive behavior for minor infractions. Also, I have recently been informed that the Pastor was a participant and had been set up across the street by The Roanoke Wiener Stand. I am not sure if he moved in closer during the performance to witness, close up, for accuracy.


May 20th, 2009 at 9:59 PM    

I noticed that Aisha Johnson told the RT that 5 or more needed a permit. She told me 3.

In the new video by Beth I can see more than 5 gathered around a TV – the others may have been bystanders but 60 – 100 people at lunch time can obstruct the flow of traffic especially if bystanders stop and block other pedestrians. I’ve been to the Market and getting out just with a few people gabbing outside the door makes it difficult to get by them without giving them a shove.

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