Courtney Love's solo show in New York on Wednesday night ended with the singer in police custody after she allegedly struck an audience member with her microphone stand.
Love was arrested Thursday morning (March 18) at 2:30 a.m. after allegedly throwing a blunt object into the audience, hitting a 24-year-old man in the head, according to a New York police spokesperson. The victim, who was bleeding profusely, was taken to Cabrini Medical Center and is now in stable condition, police said. Love faces reckless-endangerment and third-degree assault charges.
Love was performing a surprise show at the downtown club Plaid with her new backing band, the Chelsea. Love reportedly did not know that the man was struck, and continued her performance.
There are conflicting eyewitness accounts regarding exactly what Love threw into the crowd. Celebrity photographer Steve Sands, who claimed he was in the front row and witnessed the incident, told a CBS News crew on the scene that he saw Love throw her mic stand, as well as her mic and guitar, into the crowd. "She didn't do it in a dangerous way," he said. "People do that all the time, moshers, mosh pit people, that's what they do."
Fans who attended the show posted on Love's Web site that they also witnessed the incident, but didn't realize anyone had been hurt. One fan who identified herself as "Dorkieangel" posted, "I totally saw her throw the mic stand ... it was a swing and a drop ... we saw someone in the front foyer with all these bandages and the cops all around him. The ambulance was outside but I thought it was a bar fight. I didn't think she hurt someone ... I seriously do believe she didn't know it happened." Another fan, who called herself "Bernieh," wrote, "I saw her chuck the guitar and drop the mic ... but I thought the stand just got knocked over."
Drummer Samantha Maloney from Love's backing band told CBS News, however, that Love wasn't even using a mic stand. "She was just singing," Maloney said. "Nothing had happened. We're just trying to get this rectified, because we have our show tonight. He's basically after our money."
After her set, Love was taken to New York's ninth precinct, where she was processed, issued a desk appearance ticket to return to court at a later date, and then released, police said. When one reporter outside the police station asked Love if she threw the mic stand, Love shook her head no, but did not speak.
Love's spokesperson issued a statement Thursday morning. "We are presently investigating the charges," read the statement from Jill Fritzo. "There is a pending court date and we believe she will be vindicated."
The singer is due back in court on April 19. She faces up to one year for each charge, according to a spokesperson for the New York District Attorney's office, but in all likelihood, the penalties would be combined since both charges stem from one incident.
The incident came after Love's bizarre appearance on the "Late Show With David Letterman" Wednesday night where the singer bared her breasts, lit up a cigarette and rambled about Nicole Kidman, the FCC and her legal problems (see "Courtney Love Hit With Disorderly Conduct Charge"). Though Love said that she wasn't supposed to talk about her court case, she told Letterman that the drugs involved were "one expired Percocet and one Ambien." During her entrance and throughout the interview, Love threatened to flash Letterman as well as the audience, with several false starts until she actually climbed atop his desk while singing a few bars of "Danny Boy" and raised her shirt, her back turned to the audience, revealing she wasn't wearing a bra. She changed one lyric to refer to Drew Barrymore, who had also famously exposed herself on his program in 1995.
At the end of the interview, which Letterman tried to cut short by pretending that he was going to play a clip next, Love asked Letterman, "Do you think I'm wacky?" "Are you wacky?" he asked. "OK, but is that against the law?" she said. "It's not a good idea," he told her, "but not against the law."
Love's label rep said that the singer is still scheduled to perform Thursday night at New York's Bowery Ballroom.
[This story was updated at 12:36 p.m. ET on 03.18.2004]