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Band director arrested

A disagreement prior to the kickoff of the Cairo vs. Monroe football game resulted in Cairo High School Director of Bands Johnny Folsom  being handcuffed and arrested as his band marched into Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany.
Folsom was charged with simple battery on a police officer after he and two assistant band directors attempted to go into the stadium after the assistants were allegedly directed to wait outside the stadium until the band entered.
The band director was later released on a $1,000 bond after being transported to the Dougherty County Jail for booking.
Folsom declined to give his account of the Friday night incident, but did tell The Messenger, “ . . . the expressions of support from our community and beyond, and the band director network all over, have been overwhelming.”
According to Dougherty County School System Police Department Assistant Chief J.C. Phillips, who arrested Folsom, “At approximately 1930 hours the Cairo High School Band approached the north gate to enter the stadium. Mr. John L. Folsom Jr., the band director, and two of his assistants were walking ahead of the band as they approached the north gate. The reporting officer (Phillips) observed Officer Kelly Crawford and Barbara Turner direct the band assistants to move to one side, and explained to them that they needed to get a head count of the band members before they allowed the rest of the supporting staff to enter.”
Asst. Chief Phillips continued, “The band director, Mr. John L. Folsom Jr., began yelling ‘y’all don’t count the football coaches, then told his two assistants to go ahead and enter the stadium, which they did. The reporting officer (Phillips) explained to Mr. Folsom and the assistants they were to follow Officer Crawford’s directions not Mr. Folsom’s. Officer Crawford called for the two assistants to come back to the gate at which time Mr. Folsom grabbed Officer Crawford by his right forearm in an aggressive manner telling him, ‘No, I said they can go in.’ Officer Crawford used the same right forearm to push Mr. Folsom away. The reporting officer (Phillips) grabbed Mr. Folsom from behind by his left arm and right shoulder and identified himself as Officer Crawford’s supervisor.”
According to Asst. Chief Phillips, “Mr. Folsom continued saying in a loud voice, ‘y’all don’t count the football coaches.’ Mr. Folsom was then placed in handcuffs by Officer Crawford and transported to the Dougherty Co. Jail where he was charged with Simple Battery on a Police Officer.”
Band chaperones, according to an eyewitness, pleaded with the officers not to arrest the band director in front of the band students as they marched in, but Folsom was handcuffed and placed in a nearby patrol car.
Band patrons report problems are always experienced at Hugh Mills Stadium, ranging from concerns over the number of chaperones to bathrooms being locked immediately after the football game ends and stadium lights being turned off before the band has had sufficient time to pack up and load onto school buses.
Folsom missed Friday night’s game, but was back on the job and traveled with the Syrupmaker Band Saturday to perform at the Valdosta State University game.
Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis declined to comment on the incident.
“As long as there is an ongoing investigation, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to comment on a personnel issue,” the superintendent said.

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