An acclaimed Australian sword-swallower was arrested while busking in New York for "brandishing a sword in public". The Space Cowboy - real name Chayne Hultgren, 33, from Byron Bay, NSW - claims police threw him into a packed cell, saying: "Don't tell these guys you swallow." "After 24 hours locked up I am now released from jail," he said. "All my performance props have been confiscated but I am a free man. They charged me for 'disorderly conduct' and I was locked up with junkies, sexual offenders and four break-dancers."
Mr Hultgren, who claimed the unofficial world record of swallowing 27 swords at the Irish Street Performance Festival and holds the official world record of 18 swallows at once, said an officer approached him as he performed in front of a large street crowd and said: "I don't care if you are a sword swallower, you were holding a sword in public and I have every right to shoot you." Mr Hultgren said he was told to tell the crowd to disperse and he'd be back to finish his show in an hour.
"As soon as most of the crowd dispersed I was cuffed and aggressively guided into the back of a police vehicle," he said. "I spent the next 24 hours handcuffed and locked up in a cell. No bed, no food, no rights. When I was locked in a small cell with 26 other prisoners one of the officers said tauntingly and loudly through the bars 'don't tell these guys you swallow'. The NYPD confirmed Mr Hultgren's arrest on August 2, at 11.30am in Manhattan. "He was disorderly, creating a hazardous condition," a spokesman said. "He was swinging whips and in possession of a sword and had no ... identification."
Mr Hultgren said all his props were in police custody and it was a convoluted process to get them back. "I have a gig this weekend so I have been desperately trying to buy all new props," he wrote. "I ordered a new 4m unicycle, more swords and whips. The only thing they let me keep was my bag. So that turned out to be a very expensive street show for me. I even missed my flight because I was in jail. Total loss for me is in the thousands even though in the end I was not charged or fined. They just let me go."
You can see Mr Hultgren in action here.