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Flutist arrested for street music sues Philly

A classical flutist who was handcuffed amid a crackdown on street music in a genteel neighborhood has sued the City of Brotherly Love.
/ Source: The Associated Press

It’s all in the ears of the beholder.

A classical flutist who was handcuffed amid a crackdown on street music in a genteel neighborhood has sued the city.

Felix Wilkins’ arrest in March came a day after police charged another man for singing in Rittenhouse Square. Both were charged with disorderly conduct.

A judge dismissed Wilkins’ case last month, but this week the musician filed suit.

Wilkins claimed that he was taken to a police station and detained for merely “assert(ing) his right to play a musical instrument on the public streets of Philadelphia.”

The singer, 20-year-old Anthony Riley, is due in court next week.

The arrests came as police cracked down on street musicians and performers amid complaints from residents.

City Solicitor Romulo Diaz, responding to an outcry on free speech grounds, hopes to forge a compromise between the parties. Diaz declined to comment on the lawsuit.