Street performers claim they've been warned, cited for sitting - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Street performers claim they've been warned, cited for sitting


They're part of the fabric that makes Music City unique, but street musicians are claiming they've been warned against sitting while they perform.

"I'm not going to go to jail for this, so I'm going to stand up as long as I can, and I'm going to go home," said street musician Kevin Morgan.

Morgan's usually seen strumming his guitar on Broadway with his three dogs at his side. He said never again does he want to be seen surrounded by blue flashing lights.

"It made me look really bad out here because all these people are sitting around looking at me," said Morgan. "Treat me like a human being instead of a criminal."

Morgan has been given a misdemeanor citation for obstructing a passageway, but Morgan said it was because he was sitting down.

Fellow street musician Aaron Dorsey said he was just cited for the same reason.

"You would've thought I was a hardened criminal or something," said Dorsey. "Blue lights were drawing negative attention to me."

Another eight street performers in downtown Nashville Friday told Channel 4 police had turned on the lights and warned them they'd be cited if they sat down while they played.

"People were looking at me, probably thought I was some kind of drug dealer or something," said street musician J.R. Willis.

Metro police said there's no recent crackdown on street performers for sitting down. They said citations will only come about if someone's obstructing the path of pedestrians.

"I see guys who take their tip jugs and will just put them in the middle of the sidewalk," said street performer Klayton Emmelli.

Emmelli takes a different view from most street performers. He said police have good reason to cite performers he sees blocking the path.

"Many of them are, and they have no respect for the business or the tourism aspect of downtown," said Emmelli.

With his dogs watching the crowds go by, Morgan said he's just trying to fill his guitar case with a little change, and he'll just stand to keep from spurring any attention from police.

"It's bad when you have to defend your dignity, y'know," said Morgan.

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