UPDATE: The Allentown police officer who body slammed a 61-year-old man singing in public, said he did so because he “feared me may try to fight.”
Officer Robert Busch also stated that Jim Ochse “became very hostile and began yelling in my face” when he first approached him for singing in front of a crowded restaurant.
Busch also wrote in his report that Ochse remained defiant even after being slammed to the pavement, keeping “his arms so tense that I could not move them or get the handcuffs on the defendant.”
A 61-year-old man happily singing a Beach Boys song in front of a crowded restaurant in Pennsylvania was violently body slammed by a cop before he was carted off to jail Friday.
But Allentown police have yet to tell Jim Ochse what charges he is facing, assuring the self-employed athletic trainer that he will be cited by mail – most likely waiting for the videos to surface before concocting their narrative.
Already, two videos have surfaced, thwarting their initial plan to claim Ochse had touched the officer, which, of course, would given the officer the green light to pound his skull into the pavement.
Instead, the videos show that Ochse was attempting to walk away when the cop grabbed him and slammed him down on the pavement in front of shocked witnesses eating and drinking at Shula’s Steakhouse in downtown Allentown while two security guards in dark suits stood passively watching.
The guards apparently told Louisa Ranis Soos, one of the women who recorded the incident, that Osche had touched the officer. This is how she described the incident after posting her video to Facebook:
The second woman who posted a video to Facebook, Sarah Varjassy, was taken aback by how quickly the video went viral, which generated tons of comments and shares, mostly from people criticizing police, but many from people cheering police on.
She has since shut down her Facebook page but had mentioned that she had seen Osche singing in that spot beforehand and he never appeared drunk nor did he ever come across as threatening or dangerous.
Some of the comments on her page before she shut it down include this one from a man named Kyle Yankowy who basically said Osche was “an asshole” for singing, which somehow was a sign of “disrespect” towards the officer.
Then there was Kevin Farina, who has cop friends.
And Dray Wieller, who suggested that Osche did not walk away fast enough.
There are two videos of the incident. One shows Ochse conversing animatedly with the officer, pointing his finger at him several times. In the other, shot from a different angle, Ochse can be heard saying “You get out of here, you get out of here, you get out of here,” as he points to each man in turn and begins to walk away.
At that point, the officer seizes Ochse and wrestles him to the ground, struggling to cuff him as Ochse screams and shouts “police brutality.” Another officer arrives, and Ochse is then led away in handcuffs.
The woman who shot one of the videos through open windows from inside the restaurant, Sarah Varjassy, posted it to Facebook, where it has been shared several hundred times. It has been viewed thousands more times through links on other web sites.
Capt. Tony Alsleben said the department can’t comment because it is reviewing the matter. He would not identify the officer.
Ochse, for his part, said he is going to engage a civil rights attorney and request meetings with the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office and police department brass.
“These guys need to be prosecuted,” he said of the security guards — who did not touch Ochse but stood watching — and the officer. “They have to be held accountable for the actions.”
It isn’t clear whether the property where Ochse was singing is public or private. The walkway is eventually to become an extension of the city’s Arts Walk, which links the Allentown Museum of Art, the Arts Park and other attractions.
Ochse, who was singing the 1965 Beach Boy’s classic, Barbara Ann before he was approached by the cop, told the Morning Call that he has been singing on the streets for three months as a way to relieve stress – not realizing it would leave him with a possible case of post traumatic stress disorder, which is common among victims of police abuse.
But he has already vowed to sue the Allentown Police Department, which has been sued eight times for excessive force since September, including one filed last week by a man arrested for video recording police beating another man.