On Tuesday, at the Maryland Heights, Missouri, stop of this summer's Warped Tour, Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travis McCoy was arrested and charged with third-degree assault after he allegedly struck a member of the audience in the head with his microphone.
According to police spokesman Sgt. Joseph Eagan, the department does not release the names of those arrested until they are formally charged by the local prosecutor's office. But Eagan did confirm that "there was an incident last evening with a band called Gym Class Heroes, and that we did make an arrest." Eagan said "there was an altercation between one of the artists and one of the patrons, and the person arrested was booked on assault, posted bond and was released."
Eagan did confirm that the incident was racially motivated, but added that the alleged victim "and the artist are of the same race."
"There were words exchanged, and the artist took offense to something that was said to him," Eagan said. "The complainant alleged that he was struck, and we're waiting for it to go to the prosecuting attorney."
Eagan declined to provide further details, but according to Rolling Stone, the audience member near the front row called McCoy a "f---ing ignorant n---er." McCoy reportedly responded by asking the man to repeat what he'd said as security personnel attempted to remove the man from the venue. McCoy then reportedly reached down and struck him in the head with his microphone.
Eagan told MTV News on Thursday (July 3) that a warrant for McCoy has been issued because police wish to speak with him further about the incident.
"The prosecutor handling the case decided there was enough information to warrant a charge," he said. The charge for municipal, or common assault, is a misdemeanor and carries no jail time, but will result in a fine to be determined by the judge if McCoy is found guilty. At 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, Eagan said McCoy's attorneys had not yet contacted police about the warrant.
Police will not actively pursue McCoy if he does not turn himself in, but Eagen said if one of the singer's attorney's does not contact authorities by the end of the month, an additional warrant will be issued for failure to appear. "I'm sure once they find out about it, he will have his attorneys contact our people."
The band's manager, Bob McLynn, released a statement Wednesday afternoon that reads: "Somebody in the crowd was taunting Travis with racial slurs. Travis invited him onstage with the intent of calling him out in front of the crowd, with absolutely no intention of a physical altercation. When he tried to help him onstage, the guy hit Travis in the knee area (which has been in a brace because of a recent sprain), forcing Travis to defend himself. At this point, a scuffle broke out.
"This whole incident is unfortunate," the statement continues. "Travis McCoy and Gym Class Heroes are anything but violent. Their message is about racial unity and having a good time. It's amazing that in 2008, there are still people out there that would say such ignorant things. Travis is deeply upset that this happened, and has expressed his apologies to the band's fans that were at the show, [tour organizer] Kevin Lyman, and the Vans Warped Tour. GCH is putting this behind them and looks forward to seeing everyone on the rest of the tour."
[This story was originally published at 5:01 p.m. ET on 7.2.2008]