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letlive. Frontman Jason Butler Details Past Arrest That Inspired “Good Mourning, America”


letlive. frontman Jason Butler has detailed his past arrest in 2007 and how it influenced the band’s latest song , “Good Mourning, America” (which you can stream here.) Speaking to Team Rock, he offered:

“It was on May 5, 2007. I believe the term is ‘assault on a police officer’. When you see that, you think, ‘This guy’s fucking aggressive, he’s clearly stirring up trouble’. I was in a situation where I was trying to do the right thing. I was trying to take a friend home who’d been drinking at a party. I believe the police are sworn in to serve and protect, but they were focusing on my young friend, who’s Hispanic. I don’t know if this is why, but we were a very different background, myself and my friend, to the police officers.

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All of these [other] people that were similar to them in their ethnic background, they were letting them go. They were drunk, they were high, they were making a ruckus, and they were letting these people go – they were just turning a blind eye to these kids. But I believe my friend was profiled.”

“I said to the policeman, ‘I’m completely sober, I’m of age, I have a valid driving license, you can breathalyse me, and I’ll take him home.’ He’s like my little brother, he’s from Inglewood – my city. As soon as I started to assert who I was as a citizen, this cop just seemed like he wanted to flex on me. He was using remarks that were threatening or hostile towards me.

I said, ‘I can diffuse the situation and make it easier on you if I take him home.’ And then he asked me a question about who I am and who I thought I was. I guess I did provoke him at this point because I said, ‘You’re only here to take us down, and I’m trying to make sure that that doesn’t happen.’”

“Unprovoked, he tried to grab me. I put my hand up against his grasp, and his partner grabbed me and then gave me to him in a hold. He put me in a chokehold because he was frustrated. My friend, who was inebriated, started to yell, and then my other friend started to yell, and it became this complete chaos where everyone was very afraid. Unfortunately, we in Inglewood are afraid of the police.

We think they’re there to harm us not to help us, because that’s what we’ve been shown for the most part. I was trying to get released, and eventually I yelled something, and he lifted me up off my feet, tightening his restraint on me, and I passed out. My body was so full of adrenaline. He put me down, and I started to wake up, and I lifted him up. This is fight or flight, I’m a human being. I lifted him up somehow and I got free by way of a ghetto headbutt. They started hitting me and knocking me down and cuffing me. They took me to jail.”

“There’s a funny story how it all ended; I knew the district attorney from being a child and she looked a little deeper into my case, and she found that this guy was totally in the wrong. My charges of up to five years for assaulting this police officer were dropped. Unfortunately, it’s on my record and does make things a little harder when I’m trying to travel or apply for anything federal, but you know what, they can see that this person did the wrong thing and I just reacted as a human being.

I hadn’t shot him. I was just trying to get free. I’m not condoning this. I’m not saying go out and fight cops, but I am saying don’t let people threaten your life or your rights as a person. It was proven by the courts. If you took off his badge and took it human to human, what he did was wrong.”

letlive.‘s new album “If I’m The Devil…” will be released on June 10th through Epitaph.

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