Trombonist arrested playing outside Turner Field

by: Diana Davis Updated:

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ATLANTA —

Police have arrested another street musician in Atlanta.

Channel 2 Action News reported the arrest of a violinist by MARTA police last month. Now, a trombonist told Channel 2's Diana Davis he spent the night in jail for soliciting as he played outside Turner Field.

Eryk McDaniel insists he never asks for money and was not breaking the law, but off-duty Atlanta police officers working at the ball park arrested him Friday night.

McDaniel, a rising junior at Alabama State University and band member, said he plays mostly for fun. Though he said he never asks for money, his Facebook page shows his trombone case filled with cash. He admitted he doesn’t turn donations down.

“That is nice, but at first, I didn't expect money,” he said.

He added he has played outside the Georgia Aquarium and the Georgia Dome with no problems. He said he even has fans in the Police Department.
                           
“The police, they come up and they say, 'Hey, play me this song,’ or ‘You sound great,'” said McDaniel.

He said he spent a night in jail after his arrest and then, bailed himself out. It’s not what he expected on his summer break from school.
         
“You know, I tell them, ‘I’m on summer vacation, but with all the police, I hope I don’t end up on summer probation,’” McDaniel said.

Other street musicians said they don’t like what happened to McDaniel.

“I'm also a street musician. I play percussion. I don’t think it’s right,” drummer Melvin Cobb said.
                   
McDaniel said the arresting officer told him he needed a vendor’s license or permit to play. The city’s ordinance seems to exempt street musicians, as long as they don’t ask for money.

“If I needed a vendor's license, I would have a vendor’s license. It clearly says in black and white musicians are excluded,” McDaniel said.
                   
He said he doesn't want to stop playing. He'll tell the judge his story when he's due in court June 17.