Two members of San Antonio-based punk band Girl In a Coma were released from jail this morning after a fight with two off-duty Houston police officers late Saturday night at Montrose bar Chances, an eyewitness and friend of the band told Rocks Off Tuesday.
Singer/guitarist Nina Diaz and bassist Jennifer Alva were arrested near closing time and charged with assaulting a public servant. Diaz' boyfriend, whose name was unavailable, was also arrested.
The band had played a free concert at Discovery Green earlier Saturday and was at Chances, (where it has played several times) as customers, said Houston Press receptionist Abrahan Garza, who was also at the bar. The incident began when one of the officers, who was working as a security guard, saw Diaz slap her boyfriend and attempted to separate the couple.
Garza said the couple had been arguing all day -- "normal relationship stuff" -- but were just playing around and not actually fighting. "She pushed his face with one finger," he said. "If the cop had waited ten more seconds it wouldn't have gone any further."
When Alva became involved, Garza said he saw one of the officers push her into a corner and hit her in the head with his nightstick three times. "He wasn't hitting the floor," he said. "She was screaming, 'This is why I fucking hate men.'"
Garza said the officer then announced to the crowd of onlookers that had gathered outside, "I hit her, but I didn't give her a full-on man-punch."
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"It seemed like the cop knew he had done wrong when he came out to talk to us," Garza added.
Girl In a Coma is scheduled to play the Showgrounds at Sam Houston Race Park May 2 with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and the Smithereens. (Jett owns the band's record label, Blackheart Records.) The band's publicist, Ken Phillips, said Girl In a Coma had no comment on the incident.
Rocks Off filed an open records request with the Houston Police Department and called Chances Tuesday afternoon, but there was no answer and the bar's voicemail box was full. We'll update this story as soon as we hear back from either one.
Update: For a very different take by the manager at Chances, click here.