Cop Confronts Musician On Sidewalk, Gets Taken Off Patrol (Video)


Albany, New York, Police Officer Glenn Szelest was recently placed on administrative duty after a video (below) surfaced of him confronting a street musician last week.

Szelest “potentially acted inappropriately," according to the police department.

The Times Union notes that Szelest told musician Leif Solem that he could not perform on the sidewalk and implied that he had to have a permit last Thursday.

In a cell phone video filmed by Cat Jones, Solem’s girlfriend, Szelest states, "Go down to city hall, go see the clerk, they’ll explain everything to you. First Amendment or nothing."

“So, you're at a vacant building, okay, and you have debris, shirts, that people cannot walk down the sidewalk, they have to walk around you,” Szelest adds.

Jones points out that no one is being obstructed on the sidewalk.

Szelest then calls for backup, and describes Jones and Solem as “aggressive panhandlers.”

Szelest tells the couple that they "being confrontational,” demands to see their identification, Jones asks for his ID and then Szelest grabs for Jones' cell phone.

Solem was cited for disorderly conduct, and has a court date for Sept. 17.

Solem wrote on his YouTube page, under the username Leif Mulch: "[W]e went to city hall as soon as he let me go. No one at city hall knew anything about any ordinance authorizing an officer to chase away a busker, nor is there any need for a permit of any kind, according to the City Clerk's office. And yet, somehow, I have a court date for this and am facing jail."

Albany Police spokesman Steve Smith said an investigation is being conducted into the incident, meanwhile, Jones and Solem are recruiting people for a protest and performance on Sept. 21.

Sources: Times Union, YouTube / Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot


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