Atlanta to consider changing law restricting street musicians

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ATLANTA - The Atlanta City Council could vote Monday to change the laws governing street musicians.

Call it a small victory for a college student and his trombone.  Eryk McDaniel Jr. was arrested by Atlanta police recently for playing his trombone outside of Turner Field after a Braves game.

The officer said he was playing too close to the entrance of the stadium and violating the city's aggressive panhandling law.

McDaniel insisted he was within his rights and it turns out, city lawyers seem to agree. They have offered to dismiss the case.

Now, Atlanta City Council members are moving to change the wording of the law so no other instances like McDaniel’s occur.

McDaniel returned to Turner Field last weekend, playing his trombone free of the threat of arrest.

"Definitely I'm excited about it just so everything can go back to normal," he said. "Nobody seemed to believe I was doing a lawful thing."


City Council member Michael Julian Bond is pushing the language change for Monday's meeting. He said the intent of the law all along was to make street musicians exempt from parts of the tough panhandling ordinance.

"I think the language just wasn't clear enough,” Bond said. "When you’re on a busy city street, seeing someone playing music or singing or whatever their artistic expression is, that adds to the ambiance of what makes Atlanta, Atlanta."

McDaniel said he will continue to play his trombone on the streets to pay for college.

"My message to the police would just be, don't you guys got something else to do? No hard feelings but I'll be back at Turner every game now. Now I'll be there a little more early and be happy about it and breathe easier," he said.