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Intelligencer: March 21-28

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Elliott Smith’s Last Brawl
How he fought the police.
When Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Elliott Smith died two years ago of what appeared to be self-inflicted stab wounds, he was facing charges of fighting with a policeman outside the Universal Amphitheatre. And during the last months of his life he was haunted by the incident, scared of going to jail and anxious to get out of L.A. Now a police report provides an account of what transpired the night Smith went to see a Beck–Flaming Lips double bill. According to the deputy sheriff who fought with him, the diminutive indie-rock god evinced a Hemingway-esque bravado one might not have expected from the man behind the Good Will Hunting soundtrack. When security dragged a man out of the theater for refusing to leave a seat that wasn’t his, Smith “approached the [guards] trying to handcuff the suspect on the ground and pointed his finger at them saying ‘That’s not right,’ ” the report says. After the deputy warned him off, Smith said, “I don’t have to get back.” They started struggling, and Smith kept at it even after being hit with pepper spray. “The subject closed his eyes,” reads the report, “but continued to hold on to me and grapple.”
—Benjamin Nugent


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