It’s a strange situation for a website like Saving Country Music to be asked to step up and defend a country music artist such as Chris Young. Speaking exclusively about his music, Young’s career has charted one of those unfortunate trajectories where he started out with a great country sound and significant promise, only to fall into chasing the pop country superstar dream, and releasing subpar music just to land radio hits and keep a major label deal.
But when it comes to personal matters and especially legal ones, you have to toss all of that aside. Wrong is wrong, and from the very start, it was clear something was wrong about Chris Young’s arrest on January 22nd for disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer, and resisting arrest, even before video footage of the incident began to emerge, directly refuting the characterizations of the arresting officer from the affidavit.
Nobody should put their hands on an officer, and most certainly it is hard for law enforcement to go out there every day, put their literal lives on the line, and not be pushy and aggressive with the public. But this felt like a situation we see in society too often where an officer feels the need to arrest a private citizen just to save face, when in fact they are the ones that overreacted in a situation.
Chris Young has now been cleared of all the charges by Nashville District Attorney Glen Funk, who said in a statement on Friday (1-26), “Regarding the Chris Young incident–After a review of all the evidence in this case, the Office of the District Attorney has determined that these charges will be dismissed.”
It’s good that Chris Young has been cleared of all charges. But it’s not before his mug shot was distributed all across the internet, he had to spend time behind bars, he had to post a bond, and a lawyer had to get involved. Sure, the charges against Young were relatively simple misdemeanors. But it begs the question, if Chris Young wasn’t a celebrity, would the charges have been dropped so expeditiously? Would the press have scrutinized the incident so thoroughly?
During a compliance check by Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers at the Tin Roof in Nashville where Young was drinking, he started to ask the compliance officers questions, and then proceeded to follow them around the bar as they checked the IDs of other patrons. When the officers left the Tin Roof and went next door to the Dawg House, Young and others continued to follow the officers. When the officers went to leave the Dawg House, Young addressed them.
The fact that the sworn affidavit from the arresting officer said that Chris Young “stuck” him while he was leaving the Dawg House never made sense. It was almost like they were trying to walk a fine line of not wanting to lie, but also needing to embellish the seriousness of the situation to justify the arrest.
Now that the charges are dropped, and now that we have seen video of the situation, it appears that Chris Young was actually using his position as a celebrity to stand up for what he was worried at the time might be an overreach by law enforcement, or perhaps something else.
According to Young (through his lawyers), the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission officers took a picture of his ID, which they shouldn’t be allowed to do. The fact that they were in plain clothes also led to Young and others scrutinizing the situation, and deciding to take action by simply asking the officers who they were.
The Chris Young situation was made right. But for many private citizens in similar situations without the resources or benefits of cameras that Chris Young had, it remains wrong.
In 2023, Saving Country Music reported on the killing of 4-time Grammy-winning producer and engineer Mark Capps, who was shot through a closed door by Metro Nashville Police Officers while serving warrants where the information has also been disputed. Unfortunately for Capps and his family, the press didn’t scrutinize the situation like they should have, and Nashville District Attorney Glen Funk didn’t take the type of corrective action many believe should have been taken. Capps was a Grammy winner, but not a household name like Chris Young.
Though the music of Chris Young is still what it is, it’s hard to not give him credit in this situation. It makes Young look even more “Outlaw” than if he’d just gotten punchy in a bar and was arrested legitimately. He fought the law, and won.