DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Two hours of newly released body camera footage shows the chaos and commotion that surrounded the Naked Cowboy’s arrest in Daytona Beach during Bike Week.
Robert Burck, 50, who’s better known for wearing nothing but underwear, cowboy boots and a hat as he plays his guitar at Times Square in New York City, was taken into custody Saturday on a panhandling charge during the popular motorcycle event.
The footage from the Daytona Beach Police Department starts with an officer motioning for Burck to get away from a crowd that had formed on the sidewalk on Main Street near Fern Lane.
“As we walked by earlier we said, ‘Stop panhandling,’ we told you to stop panhandling,” an officer said.
“But you said that you don’t panhandle,” another chimed in.
“Well, people give me tips,” Burck replied.
He later said that he didn’t need money because he’s “already successful” and would stop accepting the cash if that was against the law. He added that he’s been performing at Bike Week for 20 years and he wasn’t aware that the rules had changed.
Warning: Video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
His wife, who was dressed in similar American flag attire, tried to approach and that’s when Burck was placed in handcuffs.
Initially, officers told him he was detained and would receive a notice to appear in court.
Burck spent a few minutes trying to plead his case but after some time, the officers told him he was now under arrest and not free to go.
He continued to insist that what he was doing wasn’t about the money.
“I have an 800 credit score. I don’t (expletive) around. What’s wrong with you? I didn’t do nothing wrong,” Burck said.
At times, he used graphic and insensitive language.
“So the Blacks can walk around and take tips all day long but I don’t want anything about that,” Burck said in the video.
“Excuse me? Excuse me?” the officer asked.
“I don’t care. You heard me, yeah, you heard me. I don’t want money from them. I’m already rich. I don’t give a (expletive) about the money. You can break the guitar and give it to all the (inaudible),” Burck replied.
Crowds soon started to gather to film the encounter at times chanting, “boo,” “free the Naked Cowboy,” and “let him go.”
Things escalated when Burck told his wife to grab his cellphone out of his boot after an officer had already told him that she needed to stay on the sidewalk.
Moments after a handcuffed Burck walked toward his wife, yelling at her to “take my (expletive) phone out of my (expletive) boot,” a female officer told him, “you need to be quiet” and pushed him against the patrol car, rotating him several times across the vehicle while his guitar was still strapped across his chest.
Burck told the officer he wasn’t resisting.
“I don’t want to fight you. Come on, my (expletive), you (expletive) broke my guitar strings. Oh my God, you broke my (expletive) guitar now,” Burck said.
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The video shows that Burck began hurling insults at the female officer once he realized his instrument was snapped at the neck.
“(Expletive) you, (expletive) (homophobic slur), (expletive) (homophobic slur),” he told her.
That same officer counted the cash that was stuffed inside the guitar’s sound hole, totaling $231.
About 10 minutes after the instrument was damaged, Burck offered an apology to the female officer for calling her names.
“I was mad, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You can call me a (homophobic slur),” he said.
“I don’t talk to people like that,” the officer replied.
“I was scared, I was scared. You know when you get scared you say stupid things,” Burck said.
One hourlong body camera video ends with Burck in the back of a patrol car while the other ends with Burck joking about breaking off his handcuffs.
“This is funny, the whole thing is funny,” he said.
Burck was arrested on charges of panhandling and resisting arrest without violence. In court, the panhandling charge was tossed out and Burck entered a plea of no contest on the resisting arrest charge. He was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay court costs.
He has since been released from the Volusia County Jail.
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