Image courtesy of Danielle Dart of My Stage, who is hosting the benefit
Ancient Sun lays down grooves at Tanqueray's every Sunday, enjoying a long relationship with the venue and drawing an attentive weekly crowd. But on Monday, Oct. 6, as the band was packing up to leave their usual gig between 2:30 and 2:45 a.m., they experienced what they say was an unprovoked attack which landed two of Ancient Sun's members, vocalist Rick Krasowski and drummer Jason Zane, in the hospital. Zane had his jaw broken in two places and was in the hospital for multiple days. Krasowski visited the emergency room for examination and referred to a dentist, but he was told he needed to wait until his facial swelling had gone down before doctors could see to his five chipped teeth. Costs incurred are well over $10,000 - the cost of Zane's first night in the hospital.
As Krasowski tells it, the band was walking with friends to a nearby parking lot following their gig when three men deliberately crossed the street to confront them. Krasowski's girlfriend, Megan, was their initial target, he says. They made cat calls to her and approached swiftly. Krasowski says he was holding her hand, and they moved him aside to grab her by the hip and neck forcefully. Krasowski says he did not confront the men physically, but repeatedly told them to back off. Then Zane got involved, repeating Krasowski's words: "Back off. Go away." That, Krasowski says, is when Zane was sucker-punched, breaking his jaw in two places.
Some members of the group left to find police while Krasowski stayed with Zane. Two of the suspects seemed to flee, they say, and Zane tried to keep his attacker from leaving the scene. That's when Krasowski says he noticed one of the other men had Zane's wife, Hannah Farnham, in a headlock. Another friend, Alex, intervened while Hannah broke free, and he was knocked out. After that, the second man turned his attention to Megan, Krasowski says, screaming at her that he would knock her out. Krasowski says he pushed Megan out of the way and took two punches to the face. Then he lost consciousness.
When Krasowski came to, he says, his memory was shaky, but he remembers two or three bicycle cops on the scene. He remembers they asked him if he wanted to press charges and if he wanted his attacker, who had been detained, to go to jail. Krasowski says he told them, "Yes," but before the police report was filed, the suspect, a Hispanic male identified on the police report as Ranier Betulant, had been released. According to the police report, Zane's, Farnham's and Krasowki's injuries were all marked as "N/A" and the report says all three refused medical treatment. Krasowski tells it differently:
"They treated the whole thing like it was just a bunch of kids, and they didn’t really care. They wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. I found out the next day that they closed the case after I said I wanted to press charges against this guy, and after my girlfriend was assaulted, and Hannah was assaulted and threatened. They still closed the case. I guess now, finally, after we raised a bunch of hell, basically, to try and get them to look into it again, it’s open. But they didn’t care. They didn’t care at all that night. They didn’t even ask Jason, who had a broken jaw, if he wanted a paramedic or me, and I had teeth lying on the pavement."
The statement from the police report says: "Bentulan stated he was recording the dispute between the female, her group and the unknown Hispanic male. Bentulan advised the group then turned their attention to him because he was recording them. Bentulan stated the female (Farnham) and two males (Krasowski and Zane) attacked him. The group swung violently hitting him in the head causing him to drop the phone. Bentulan advised he then defended himself by punching both of the males. Bentulan stated he did not touch the female (Farnham)."
Orlando Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Lovetta Quinn-Henry did not respond to request for comment on this situation. The report states that "All appeared intoxicated based on the odor of alcoholic beverages coming from their mouths, slurred speech and demeanor." Krasowski says that both he and Zane were entirely sober. It also says that "Due to conflicting statements probable cause could not be established to make an arrest." Krasowski has since followed up with police to re-open the case.
For those who wish to support Ancient Sun, there is a benefit show at Will's Pub on indoor and outdoor stages from 4 p.m. to close on Sunday, Nov. 2. Admission is $7, and featured bands include Eugene Snowden, FunkUs, RJ Harman and Company, Leisure Chief and more (check out the flier). As Ancient Sun's wounded members struggle to pay for medical costs, the band is also dealing with career repercussions, as Krasowski's recovery time was estimated at a month and he's the singer, and Zane's complications stopped him from drumming (as of last Sunday, Ancient Sun was still hosting guest drummers to fill in at Tanqueray's). The incident has also led the band to postpone recording and the release on their new record, due to Krasowski's injuries preventing him from recording vocals.
"It’s absolutely nuts," Krasowski says. "I mean, they probably looked at it like we were just a bunch of drunk kids downtown, but that’s not even what it was. I was completely sober, my drummer was completely sober, and we were just walking our friends back to the car to try and get them home safe, and we were just packing up. We didn’t ask for any trouble or anything."