security

Truth & Salvage Co. Singer/Songwriter Files Suit Against Marriott Hotel Corporation

According to a recent lawsuit filed in Tulare County California, Tim Jones--one of the four singers/songwriters of the musical group TRUTH & SALVAGE COMPANY--was shaken awake and ripped from his bed by hotel security and local police while sleeping at the Marriott Hotel in Visalia, CA.  Jones, a Marriott rewards member and a registered guest staying the night at the Visalia Marriott in February 2010,  was handcuffed, assaulted, taken to jail and cited for trespassing and resisting arrest in his own hotel room after performing at a concert earlier in the evening. In the wake of the assault and imprisonment, Jones filed suit against Marriott Hotel Corporation on four counts, including negligence, negligent supervision, assault and battery.

Ironically, Marriott Hotel's slogan is, "Your home away from home." Tim Jones learned the hard way that Marriott's slogan is nothing more than that, simply a slogan. Instead of spending the night in his hotel room, the singer/songwriter was forced to spend the night in a Visalia jail cell. Jones was finally released at noon the following day.

Following the incident Jones said, "I was shocked by the break-in and arrest.  I kept telling them that I was a registered guest but they acted as if they couldn't hear a word I was saying."

One month after the incident, Jones was set to be arraigned in the Tulare County Superior Court. Legal representatives of the band arrived at the courthouse to answer for Jones, only to find that the District Attorney's office had not filed any charges against Jones.  To date, charges have not been filed and Visalia Police have refused to release the police incident report to the Los Angeles based Jordan Law Group, PLC; the Truth and Salvage legal team.  Attorney Vahe Jordan was quoted as saying "We’re hopeful that Marriott will accept responsibility for the way they treated Jones, who has been a loyal customer for many years."

Marriott experienced a public relations nightmare last year that spread in blogs, stemming from the legal position their Stamford, Connecticut franchisee attorneys took when a woman brought suit citing security shortcomings after being raped in the presence of her two children while in a parking structure located at the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa.  Court documents filed by the Marriott franchisee attorneys last year state the victim "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities."  The defense was viewed by many as blaming the victim.  Marriott later dropped that defense.

As for Jones, he did not have any outstanding warrants; he wasn't suspected of, nor accused of, any crime prior to being violated by Marriott Security staff and the Visalia Police. He later received medical treatment for injuries sustained during the arrest.

Currently, Tim Jones and his band Truth & Salvage Co. are touring the United States in support of their self-titled debut album (Megaforce Records/Silver Arrow Records) which was released in May of this year and was produced by Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes.  Truth & Salvage Co.--set to make their national television debut on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this Thursday, August 19--was cited as a “Top 10 Band To Watch This Summer” by USA Today and Rolling Stone said the band “has what it takes for the long haul.”  Their album was given 4½ stars by Glide.com, which noted, “Truth and Salvage is an explosion of Americana and sweaty Rock-n-Roll that comes off more like a greatest hits album than a debut...set to become an instant classic."

Truth & Salvage Co. Singer Arrested & Jailed...In His Hotel Room?

Tim Jones, one of the four singers/songwriters of the musical group Truth & Salvage Company, was shaken awake and ripped out of bed at the Marriott Hotel by Visalia Police while asleep in his hotel room.  Jones was subsequently handcuffed, taken to jail and cited for trespassing and resisting arrest in his own hotel room.

Truth & Salvage Co. toured with The Black Crowes throughout 2009 and is currently on tour in support of their debut album scheduled for release May 25, 2010.  While on a recent road trip to Visalia, California, the band finished their show at the Cellar Door and returned to the Marriott Hotel in Visalia at approximately 1 AM.   Two Visalia Police officers and a Marriott security guard entered Jones' room about an hour later and arrested Jones.  According to sources close to the band, the Visalia Police officers unsuccessfully attempted to awake and arrest Walker Young, another Truth & Salvage Co. singer who was sharing the room with Jones.

Instead of spending the night in his hotel room, Tim Jones spent the night in a Visalia jail cell.  He was finally released at noon the following day.

Jones was set to be arraigned in the Tulare County Superior Court on March 9, 2010. Legal representatives of the band arrived at the courthouse to answer for Jones, only to find that the District Attorney’s office had not filed any charges against Jones at the time of the arraignment. To date, the Visalia Police have refused to release the police incident report to the Jordan Law Group who serve as the Truth & Salvage Co. legal team.

A source close to the band said, "It's an abuse of authority for police and hotel security to enter a person's hotel room without a warrant, wake them out of a sound sleep, cite them for trespassing and then haul them off to spend the night in jail."

Jones did not have any outstanding warrants; he wasn’t suspected of, nor accused of, any crime prior to being violated by the Visalia Police and Marriott Security.  He subsequently received medical treatment for injuries suffered during the arrest.  Jones and his fellow band members, intend to aggressively pursue their legal rights.

Jones recently filed a claim for damages with the City of Visalia.

My Experience with Security at the DNC

DNC Security - photo by Mike Moran- for the Grateful Web

The Democratic National Convention came to Denver in August 2008 for the first time in one hundred years.

As a part-time reporter at KGNU last summer, I was assigned to cover the story of the Blackhawk helicopters that had been flying over downtown Denver for several days.  Special operations forces coordinated with local police and fire departments in organizing drills with Blackhawks.  Some drills were performed on the grounds of the old children's hospital.  Authorities said these drills were "routine" and had nothing to do with the Democratic National Convention, but that they were in preparation for the global war on "terrorism."  Helicopters flew low over tree tops and one Denver resident said they were so low that she could wave to the soldiers.  When residents in the vicinity of the children's hospital were questioned, they did not believe the public statement that authorities gave. 

There were reports in local newspapers of $50 million being allocated for the DNC.  A portion of the money went toward additional police officers from surrounding cities and Wyoming.  Part of the money also went to the purchase of additional equipment, including pepper spray guns.  

KGNU Associate News Director Maeve Conran, an Ireland native, said she did not recall this level of fear in Belfast.  Maeve expressed concern that the security forces covering the DNC might resort to their weapons prematurely. 

Weeks later I was offered the position to be a radio producer for Studio 08, which was the television and radio studio that was affiliated with the DNC.  The prospect of encountering the security first hand was a source of concern since I had read about the drills, the additional forces, and the millions spent on additional weaponry.  Additionally,   Maeve's comments about the possibility of weapons being drawn too soon instilled anxiety in me.

obamaDriving on Speer Boulevard towards downtown, I noticed the street getting narrower because of the barricades that were in place.  Turning into downtown Denver, I saw groups of police officers including SWAT team members walking down the sidewalk in full armor.  They looked prepared for action.

It was just after 4:00am.  I was dropped off about one mile north of the Pepsi Center, which was the site of the convention.  The barricades created a distant border around the Pepsi Center.  Police officers guarded the inside of the barricaded area.  I had my press credential around my neck. As I was wondering if I would be directed away and have to circumvent the barricade, to my surprise, an officer opened the barricade and let me in.  I had to show my credential to more officers before I crossed Speer Boulevard.  When I reached the security entrance to the Pepsi Center grounds, I had to show my credential again.  The security entrance was a tent that had detectors that resembled those of airport security.  My purse was searched and I was admitted.  Outside of the entrance to the Pepsi Center stood more people who checked my credential.  Then, in the lobby there were more people who checked my credential again.  Hence, though there were indeed several levels of security, at each point, officers were helpful and no one was hostile toward me.  

The Pepsi Center was packed with people.  Different credentials gave people clearance to different areas.  Mine permitted me to enter the hall surrounding the convention floor, but not the floor itself. 

Throughout the four days of the convention I did not witness any aggression on the part of security.  However, I read reports of tear gas and pepper spray being used on protestors, as well as of mass arrests and temporary jails and courts.  It was as though the Pepsi Center and the buffer zone created around it was a different atmosphere than that outside of the barricades.  The contrast between what I personally experienced and what I read about was stark and disturbing. 

invesoOn the last day of the DNC, Barack Obama gave his speech at Invesco Field.  There were more than 80 thousand people in the stadium.  After the speech, people emptied the stadium and there were no riots, there was no antagonism of any kind from the crowd or security.  In fact, people were in good spirits.  We all filed out in the dark, looking for the correct car or Light Rail stop.  I had never seen so many people on the streets of Denver, many of whom had come here from other cities; and yet there was an air of cooperation and unity, which brought tears to my eyes.

Several weeks later on Election Day I watched Barack Obama's victory speech on television, which was broadcast from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.  The crowd there dwarfed the one that had been at Invesco Field.  Estimates as to the number of people there ranged from 125 thousand to 500 thousand.  People were packed together like sardines standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting, attentively focused on the stage.  During his speech they showed support and when it was fished, they emptied Grant Park civilly just as had been done in Denver. 

My positive experiences and observations of the civilized behavior of thousands of people in these crowds led me to question the purpose of the additional riot police and extra weaponry in Denver during the DNC.  Was it all really necessary?

PRIVACY & SECURITY

 

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