Fans spread news of violent concert incident

Community journalism helped create more awareness of the storming of a stage by police.

Two weekends ago, a Houston police officer stormed the stage of a Two Gallants concert and demanded the band members stop playing. News coverage of the event has been scattered and varied from sources ranging from the Houston Chronicle and Rolling Stone to MySpace and community journalism efforts, such as first person accounts and digital videos posted online. These efforts had a huge impact on spreading news of the incident and gaining more media attention.

According to these sources, Houston Police Department officer Gabriel M. Rodriguez entered Walter’s on Washington after a noise complaint. He got up on the stage while Two Gallants was still playing and asked the lead guitarist, Adam Stephens, to stop. After asking the officer why twice, Rodriguez threw the much smaller built musician to the ground. The officer proceeded to chase a single audience member into a corner and then tasered him. The rest of the incident included the officer racing around the bar after the lead guitarist escaped to run outside and hide in shadows, and Rodriguez discharging his Taser three separate times.

Two Gallants hasn’t yet pressed charges, although an interview with Rolling Stone promises that the band is not letting the incident go. Fourteen fans that attended the event showed up at a city council meeting to voice their own complaints about the incident.

Although the event has attracted much attention from music media, little has been reported in major news sources. However, the Houston Chronicle wrote a story that focuses on the impact that the incident will have on the independent music scene in Houston.

Videos taken by some of the 144 fans at the show with their digital cameras have popped up all over the Internet, on sites such as YouTube and MySpace. This is a major reason that news about the event is spreading.

Here, efforts of community journalism will have a real effect on furthering public concern, and will likely help determine the outcome of the incident.