Police, Power & Switchfoot

I’m a big fan of Switchfoot. I love where they’ve come from, what they’re doing through their music and what Jon Foreman is doing too!

One of the things that Jon has been doing the last few years is getting back to the good old roots of what music is all about. He’s doing all the things that ‘new school’ rockstars don’t and it’s what makes him great. Most bands do a few P.R. events, do a meet and greet, play their show and get on their bus to head to the next city. Honestly, I don’t blame them. The road is a tough gig.

Jon Foreman has been cutting through the status quo by being a real person to his die-hard fans. After a Switchfoot show he’ll usually Twitter out a location for a short little ‘aftershow’ near the venue. He comes out with his acoustic and plays a 25-30 minute set of songs they didn’t play at their show that night, talks with fans and does his mellow thing.

They were in Tampa on August 15th, 2010 and he was peacefully doing his ‘after-show’ thing until Tampa Police, Officer Fisher, came and asserted his authority in one of the lamest demonstrations I’ve ever seen. He, eventually, forcefully removes Jon from the after-show. Watch Officer Fisher BARK orders in the most annoying yard duty kind of way. LAME!!! Where does the 1st Amendment play into this situation?

shortened version

extended version

Don’t you think there’s a line for authority to assert what is theirs to enforce? What was the offense? What was it hurting for him to allow the guy to do ONE MORE SONG?

Honestly, it’s guys like Officer Fisher that give Police a bad name. He was just bored on a Sunday Night with nothing else to do but assert his authority in a super lame way. I think Tampa PD needs to publicly reprimandย  Officer Fisher for his poor representation of the Department.

I’ve got some good friends who are cops and I know that how you handle a situation like that is up to the Officer’s discretion. As long as the situation was peaceful, even if it was in a place they maybe weren’t allowed to be (behind the venue?! on second thought…maybe not), they’d of let him do one more song and then shut it down.

What do you think? Where are my ‘authority’, ‘the law is the law’ people? Can you argue with this guy isn’t being a little over excited about his Sunday graveyard shift? Office Fisher needs a new gig!

39 responses to “Police, Power & Switchfoot

  1. Dude, in the middle of 24 as well…come on.
    That is pretty lame.

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  3. Fisher needs to get promoted to the DMV…he’s perfect for it.

  4. WOW! This is sad especially when that Officer could be out ACTUALLY protecting the streets instead of breaking up a peaceful gathering…so unfortunate!

  5. Bro I’m not trying to stir the pot here, but when a cop says “Go” I think you go. Even if that cop is a cranky old cop… I was surprised that they stood there disobeying him. They just sat there smiling. If that cop wasn’t old they would have moved on quickly. I think it’s lame that he broke up a singalong, but we’re the light of the world and those people straight up ignored him and just started singing “24”. I didn’t watch the extended version, but what I saw was lame on both sides. For the record, I think the officer was lamer… if that’s a word. I’ve ignored plenty of cops telling me to do plenty of things, but those little Switchfoot fans surprised me. I would maced them ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • totally disagree. a cop needs to present a lawful reason for them to leave. you can’t just say ‘go’ and expect people to move. they weren’t breaking any laws that he brought forward. if they were trespassing or loitering…present that and let them know they’ve got one chance to leave or they can leave in handcuffs. don’t just say ‘go’ and not give a reason. it’s one thing if you’re a parent, it’s another thing when your a law enforcement officer. very different functions.

      they had every right to be there doing a peaceful sing-a-long until he presented them with a lawful reason why they could not be there.


      • They might have had every right to be there, but I didn’t see a judge and jury standing there helping them to decide. Am I wrong, or are we expected to obey police officers, even when they’re off? I might be wrong, but I don’t think they have the right to decide what’s OK in that moment. Lights flashing, cop yelling… I say ya move along. Dude, I’m all for what you’re saying as far as the cop being out of line, but we don’t have the luxury to decide when and where we obey. Well, we do, but that freedom usually ends with a boot on your neck. I’m no Pharisee (usually), but those K-Love crazies were begging for some spray by ignoring him, and by “spray” I mean mace. OK, OK… too far, but those two girls with their smirky faces were begging for it. You should get Jeremy Good on here- I’d love to hear his take.

        In the meantime, I’d attend a Jon Foreman impromptu show 7 days a week. I’d just drop my 40 of O.E and run when the cops got there!

      • You are wrong. Legally, the police are not required to debate or explain the law to to you. Once you were told to leave, you are tresspassing. Had the officer been lame, he could have arrested the lot. Being a christian, you are to be subject to the higher authority-not agree to it. They did not “have every right to be there”. Once the event is over, the venue wants everyone to leave the property. That is what was happening here. The smug, disrespectful attitude of the singer as well as the others did not reflect Christ or his attributes. Your comments of the officer being “lame” for doing his job continues this attitude of superiority and disrespect.

  6. let’s GO let’s GO let’s GO! Haha. Nothing like a good old fashion power trip. I can see both your points. I thought it was odd that they just ignored him and started playing again with the police lights flashing in their faces, but he didn’t seem to have a reson why he wanted them out, at least none that he stated. Maybe he’s not a Switchfoot fan?

  7. i was actually there last night with my girlfriend who got us tickets for my birthday..http://bit.ly/cczawU..and here’s a link of me actually getting to meet jon. http://bit.ly/biGrLH. we were standing right behind him along with about 40 other people. most down to earth guy.
    i couldn’t agree more with your post. tampa pd was very poorly represented by officer fisher last night. on the way back to our car my girlfriend and i saw several different “gatherings” much more appropriate for police attention. what you don’t see in the video is him leaning against his car after jon was gone continuing his rant about his supreme authority to those of us who were clearly leaving..i didn’t even hear the end of it cause he was still going after we were out of earshot. funny, cause he was so emphatic about his “wife and kids” he had to get home to. it’s obviously just like you said, “He was just bored on a Sunday Night with nothing else to do but assert his authority in a super lame way.”
    one thing about the video i love is jon’s face when he sees fisher walking toward him..as if to say, “well..this should be interesting”. and what he said was true..fisher never once addressed foreman until what you see in the video.
    also..if you listen closely in the video at about 3:20 you can hear yours truly request my favorite song that also inspired a tattoo idea “your love is strong” AND you can see jon look at me with what is obviously a “thanks for the amazing song suggestion my good friend” look. ha. i choose to believe it was officer fisher who ruined this for me. darn you fisher.
    still through all this, i have to say..amazing band, amazing show, and amazing after show..great experience regardless of Fisher’s obvious lack of attention as a child.

  8. One of the few times I have to disagree with you Brian. Was the gathering out of control, no, was Jon being belligerent, no, would I have handled it the same way, no, but was Jon failing to obey the lawful order of a police officer, yes.
    First off, I may be wrong but the officer looked more like a security guard judging by his uniform. With that said, if he was an actual officer, he gave more than enough requests for them to leave and they continued to ignore him. What else was he supposed to do, beg them or say please?? My guess is they were still on the private property of whoever was holding the show and they were needing to close up and clear everybody out. The officer was more than likely working off duty at the concert, not working graveyard shift and was tasked by the owners to clear people out after the show, he was only doing his job. He didn’t use profanity, he didn’t put Jon in a choke hold, he simply escorted him off. He had no other options. It’s not easy going into a large crowd with a task at hand knowing you are gonna look like the bad guy.
    I absolutely love Switchfoot but Jon should have complied with the officer’s first request to pack it up. Go easy on Fisher, it’s not an easy gig. Btw, love the discussion, thx bro!

    • you know what…JG…you have some good points on this one. i still hold my ground which is to say that guy could have let them do ONE last song. the Tampa PD would have been HERO’S in that crowds mind. obviously, he didn’t care about the way he appeared though…which is why people have a bad taste in their mouth about PD. a simple P.R. decision to give them 3 min. and 30 seconds (3:30) for one last song and it would have all been a little different. instead he’s on the CNN news real today giving cops another reason to be disliked.

      again, i would have been totally okay if he had stated the reason why they needed to leave. it’s private property and he’d been asked to clear the property immediately, they’re disturbing the peace…just legitimize your reasoning for asking them to disband and not allow them 1 more song to finish it up.

      curious question…what do you think the Chief thought of this incident?

      • I would hope the Chief doesn’t even waste his time looking at it, to me there’s no incident. When I first saw your posting I thought, “just great, another case of police brutality.” After watching the video I was wondering what the officer did wrong. Again, he asked them to leave numerous times which they ignored. In the end he even shook Jon’s hand for the love of pete!!! With the exception of letting Jon play 1 more song, what else could he have done???? Fisher was more than likely thinkin, if i give’em an inch they’ll take a mile, I need to shut this down now. Look, Fisher’s old, he probably hasn’t even heard of Switchfoot and could have cared less when he found out. There shouldn’t be and I’m sure won’t be any investigation into this “incident” by the department. It wasn’t a case of excessive force, there were no department policy violations and he didn’t violate anyone’s rights. Thx for the reply bro.

  9. Check that out- the police agree with me! Thanks for chiming in Jeremy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    1998 Ryan Guard would be so proud of 2010 Ryan Guard.

    Switchfoot took one small step towards an EXPLICIT rating on iTunes. Gangstas!

    • hahahahah. you love every second of being right. you’ll make a good senior pastor or a cop one day, RG! remember, you’re only right in the eyes of our cop buddy. you didn’t win. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. In the middle…the cop really was lame and had no good reason to break it up. But- Jon knows a lot of people look up to him (especially half the teenage looking kids there) and thus should have set an example of obeying cops/authority by leaving the first time he was asked. That was responsible youth leader speaking….Realistically what would I have done? …I would have totally sat there and ignored the cop :/

  11. Well I have to say I agree with some points on both sides. I get that this guy was doing his job and sees a bunch of young kids and probably was breaking it up without paying any attention to what was actually going on.
    BUT (that’s a really big but) all it would have taken is someone (even someone from the venue…didn’t have to be a cop) to just say “Look, I know your just hanging out singing. Can you guys do one more song and then break it up because there are people who need to close up.” Jon isn’t a punk kid who was assembling an angry mob. He was an adult who was hanging out singing with some folks because he is just that awesome. I mean really how amazing is it that he does this??? I could go on. There is definitely lots of love for Switchfoot in our house :)But back to my original point….it would have taken 5 minutes for ANYONE (again didn’t even have to be an officer) to observe that it was just some folks hanging out, talk to them like grownups and ask them to leave. Obviously was flexing his power muscles.
    I hope that when our kids get older there are still bands like Switchfoot that are actually talented without an auto tuner and don’t get popular because of some lame gimmick. Yay for guys that have had mind blowing success but still care enough about the music itself and the people that got them there that they do things like this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I don’t have enough information, and I wonder if others who wrote here do either. Did they have the right to be there? What time was it? Were neighbors being disturbed? The cop said he told them they could do one more song at the beginning of the sing before 24. Did he?

    Agree with earlier comments that in this context, the right thing is to err on the side of being a good witness.


    • if you watch the longer video and talk to people that were there…it is clear that this guy didn’t have much to say except ‘LET’S GOOOOO’! When he approached the questioning crowd he should have stated a lawful reason. It would have all been different had he stated a sensible reason. what about anything that they did was not a good witness?

      jon tried to ask the officer what they were doing wrong and he just said ‘LET’S GOOOO’. i’m not going anywhere if there’s not a good lawful reason. i don’t care if you have a badge on or not. you can enforce a law on people if you actually present it to those who are breaking it. otherwise you’re just another guy. when jon went to shake the guys hand in a peaceful way, he forcibly removed him and jon did the right thing and made his way to the bus.

      jon did fine at being a good witness.

  13. i’m just glad Fisher’s not my dad.

    The most compliant thing to do (for Jon) would’ve been to immediately show respect, ask no questions, and follow directions. But why would you do that for someone treating you like crap? Jon pushed back in a reasonable way, in my opinion.

    I think the Chief should be embarrassed. Aren’t cops out there to protect and serve? I saw neither of those things in this video.

  14. If you were there last night we would like to talk with you for our news story

  15. I’m all for respecting authority, especially cops, but you have to draw the line somewhere. You can’t just do what a cop says without questioning in every situation. It’s important to know your rights just like knowing you don’t have to let them search your car or come in your house without a warrant. Just because they have a badge doesn’t mean anything they say is lawful, unless they give you a specific law. I’m not saying this has much to do with jon’s situation, just responding to the comments that said do whatever the cop says.

    I think officer fisher was out of line by not giving a reason, not even talking to jon when jon asked SEVERAL times, “can i talk to you for a second?” and by grabbing his arm. I think if he had been polite and shown some respect and said “hey man i’m really sorry but i’ve got to clear everyone out of here” then jon would’ve happily obliged. Instead he made a fool of himself.

  16. After watching both versions the officer in question clearly states that he already let them play “one more song”. That encounter was conveniently not included in either version of the video. It is my opinion that everyone there is in the wrong. Christian or not you don’t sit and argue with and taunt an officer. You can even hear Jon say something about getting arrested right before he decides to play another song. Watch it again and pay close attention. He knew he was wrong and that, in my opinion, sets a VERY poor example. How exactly does complaining about the people who are supposed to enforce our laws and/or keep people safe glorify the kingdom anyway?

  17. Actually the officer never did talk to jon before that. Jon says so, and so does everyone else who was there.

    • I’m well aware of what Jon says and a few people around him said but I’d be willing to bet that the officer talked to SOMEONE who portrayed that they had some control over what was going on there and told that person that he would allow one more song and then they had to leave. Again, Jon says something about getting arrested which tells me that he knew he was supposed to stop. You can clearly see that the red flashing lights are there at the beginning of the extended version so it’s obvious that the officer didn’t just show up and start yelling “LET’S GOOOOOO!!!” Believe me, I have no love for police officers in general and even have some opinions about the things that they do that some wouldn’t consider “Christ-like” opinions but I know that USUALLY they have to operate within a certain set of rules and regulations and they do. I can imagine that when there is the possibility that everything they do is being caught on video that it puts them even a little more on edge and add into that the possibility of a large crowd of “kids” getting unruly and it must be a very stressful situation.

  18. All I can tell you, is there is more to this story than what the video shows. I’m a huge Switchfoot fan and a former cop. Here’s the deal. If this is private property, which it appears to be, he has every right to tell them to leave. The first ammendmant does not give folks the right to gather wherever they choose, even if they’re Christians musicians… it’s more lame to disregard the order of police officer in my estimation, but then again I wasn’t there..so it appears there’s more to this whole event…by virtue of the order he verbally gave, he was within his rights to started arresting folks for “unlawful assembly” …I’m certainly glad this didn’t happen but he could have….I guess I would ask that until you’ve been in this situation which I have numerous times…don’t be so quick to criticize…I think because we assume these are all good folks, and cetainly John is, it gives us the right to do whatever…anyway, my two cents!!!

    • just and addition…the officer doesn’t know these folks from Adam..he doesn’t know that more than likely they’re awesome Christian folks wanting to hear John play…all he knows, is they are disobeying a direct order to dispurse……not a great testimony if they claim the name of Christ in my estimation…

  19. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-foreman/standoff-with-florida-pol_b_685042.html

    I’m sure many have seen this already but here are some thoughts Jon himself posted today. Some REALLY great thoughts that make me respect him even more.

  20. I have to say I’m pretty surprised at the pro Jon opinions. What was the phone call the police got about this gathering? What does the law say about gathering without a permit? How loud were people before the video started? What did the cop tell them before he wanted to do the last song? Based on the video, none of us knows. Yet, there is so much talk against the cop. The cop said he already gave them time for one more song. So what if Jon didn’t hear it. Cops get lied to ALL the time. “I didn’t hear you officer”. “I didn’t know you were wanting ME to pull over officer”. Then the cop says let’s go and the girl says “Let’s go. Play another song ha ha ha” knowing full well what the officer meant. Please show me the scripture that says it’s ok to mock authority.

    He was physically escorted away because he wasn’t respecting or obeying authority. How many other people should the cop “reason” with every week? How many other people should the cop give in to every week when they say “Just one more”?

    It is not our responsibility to question a cop making a decision in the field. And no. We don’t have to know why the cop wants something done any more than your children needing to know “why”.
    WE don’t know what the cop knows. Obey the cop. Then take it to the courts to get your rights enforced and make change. And in this case, the rights that no one even knows for sure that Jon and that gathering had.

    Christians, what was the difference between Jon and the crowd disobeying and somewhat mocking the officer, and any other non-christian giving the cop a hard time? What did Jon do that brought that cop closer to knowing God? What did he do that might turn off that cop to God? We are Christians before we are U.S. citizens. We Christians have no rights. If standing up for our “rights” in the moment interferes with how we portray God, then we are to die to that right.

    If Jon was mistreated he absolutely should file a complaint and work for change. Get the bad cops disciplined and off the streets. If it isn’t worth that effort, then he should have complied.

    Kerry nailed it.
    I would love to see all the people complaining about how our troops act and how our cops act to do that job for one year. This video clearly shows a cop giving an order and a group of Christians not giving a rats behind. Then this blog shows a bunch of Christians making comments as though they know what they are talking about concerning that whole situation from beginning to end, the laws involved, and so on.

    There are lots of scriptures about obeying authority. I choose this one:
    Titus 3:1,2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men

    This scripture is talking to us Christians. Not cops.

    • hey paul…

      i know people that were personally there at this after-show and so I do know a bit more than assuming facts. i think the conversation is warranted based on the facts. i still think it’s vital that police officers give a lawful reason for disbanding a gathering before it’s necessary for the crowd to leave. at no point did this guy give them any lawful orders except ‘LET’S Goooo’. Sorry, that’s not gonna cut it. Give me a lawful reason, be respectful and be equitable in how you handle the situation and I’m all for it.

      i don’t think jon or anyone else there was out of line. they were civil in their handling of a guy barking orders without any representation of why. even when asked ‘why’ he just direspectfully yelled ‘LET’S GOOOO’! Sorry, let’s go isn’t a law. Had he stopped and just gave a brief explanation for why he needed the gathering to disband I guarantee you Jon would have been the first one to leave peacefully.

      for those saying that these guys aren’t representing Christ well…ehh…totally disagree with you. i’m gonna be slow to pass that kind of judgment on a situation like this one. jon handled it well, in my opinion and his write up in the Huffington says more about his character than anything.

      for more of jon foremans insight…i really encourage you to read what he wrote in the Huffington Post. Let’s go doesn’t cut it though in this scenario.

      here’s the well written link from Foreman: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-foreman/standoff-with-florida-pol_b_685042.html

      • Hey Brian,
        Thanks for reading my long winded post. Sorry about that. I read Jon’s blog. Turns out he’s just like me. Sometimes makes a bad decision then apologizes for it. That was good to see. And not surprising. I have no doubt he has a heart for God. But even he thinks he was in the wrong with how he handled it.
        We are pretty opposites on this, though. Which isn’t a bad thing. Where you are slow to pass judgement on the crowd and Jon, I’m slow to pass judgement on the cop. The crowds behavior I can compare to Titus 3:1. Thus, my conclusion of their actions.
        I’m slow to pass judgement on the cop because I can’t possibly know what was going on in his head. If I consider only the actions of the cop, I lean towards your conclusion. But I simply can’t make a solid determination because of Proverbs 18:17. I simply don’t know his side of the story, regardless of what others in the crowd say, I don’t know both sides.
        Regardless of everything, we are to live our lives and grow towards obedience to scripture, which no doubt Jon is doing. There is no special waiver to Titus 3:1 such as “…obey authority unless a cop is an unjustified jerk.” We don’t have that luxury. I wish we did.
        Scripture is the final determination for me in this situation. And it trumps the rules that cops have to follow.
        Less wordy? ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Sorry I am chiming in on this so late, but topic took me some time to think through. I will start out by saying that have been a huge fan of Switchfoot and Jon Foreman for a long time. In my opinion, Jon Foreman’s solo LP’s are some of the most relevant music I have ever heard. Period. With that said, I side more on the pro law enforcement opinions on this one. If Jon wanted to make a case to the police officer to continue the after show he should have walked over to the cop and asked to have a word away from the crowd. If the police officer didn’t want to hear it, Jon assists the cop by telling the crowd to disperse and that he will Twitter a new location in 15 minutes to continue the after show. As a kid my parents always instilled in me that figures of authorities command respect. I can look back and pick out mistakes that were made by my school teachers, Sunday school teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and yes police officers, (long story, it involved a night club, friends fighting, I wasn’t involved, a court of law, not guilty) but above all I was taught to respect authority. I don’t believe for one second that if someone in a position of authority is abusing their power to attempt to destroy God’s kingdom we shouldn’t stand up, but I don’t believe this was the case in this situation. I respect Jon Foreman for publicly apologizing. Forgiveness is something I personally struggle with in life and Jon’s humbleness and character showed a great example for me. I’m not trying to stir up the pot again, just sharing my heart. Great topic Brian!

  22. Hmm, gotta disagree with you here Brian. I’m definitely not trying to put Jon or anyone else down at allll. My thought is, what’s gonna be more impactful in pointing someone to Christ? Playing that one last song about Jesus, or simply obeying their authority and being like Jesus? How often do the cops get mocked, or ignored, or disobeyed in situations like this? Sure. there doesn’t seem like a legit reason to leave, but I think that would have made a huge impact if Foreman simply got up and said, “Hey guys, sorry we can’t keep playing, but we’ve been asked to leave.” Besides, doesn’t God ask us to do crazy, seemingly senseless things also? And yet, we still should do them.

  23. Wow! That was lame! I’m not a fan of the fish

  24. Brian, surprised at your response….
    I thought the cop should have let them play one more…but lets go is all he really needed to say. The rest of it could really create a bad situation.
    I am kinda surprised at your response?

    all the best,

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