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Criminal charges dropped against guitar player

Florida readers may recall a case that gained a significant volume of media attention this summer. A young man performed a guitar rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" on a Neptune Beach street and was arrested for his show of patriotism. He was taken into police headquarters under suspicion of breaching the peace. Those criminal charges were recently dropped, ending what many viewed as an error in judgement by police.

The incident took place on the Fourth of July, when the University of North Florida student began playing the National Anthem. He used an electric guitar plugged into a small amplifier. A large crowd began to surround him as he played, with some, apparently, recording the event on video. 

Police officers approached and told the young man to move out of the roadway. He did so, but those gathered to hear him play may have still been blocking traffic. The amplified guitar music was behind the charge of breaching the peace.

In a recent change of approach to the matter, the criminal charges were dropped. The young man had no criminal record and was cooperative with police during the incident. He fought the charges with the help of an attorney in order to clear his name and refused a plea deal. This story is an example of the fact that not everyone charged with a crime moves to trial, and a reminder that we should all avoid making assumptions before a matter has moved through the Florida justice system.

Source: jacksonville.com, "Guitarist arrested in Neptune Beach over July 4 incident will not face charges", Derek Gilliam, Aug. 27, 2015

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