RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson couldn't believe it recently when he found out the sheriff's deputies who arrested him in Florida a few years ago had been cleared of any wrongdoing. US District Judge Paul A. Magnuson ruled that the officers from the Collier County Sheriff's Department "were objectively reasonable" in their behavior, which included arresting and Tasering Lifeson and his son Justin at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Naples on New Years' Eve 2003.
Lifeson told us that no one could have seen things going this way: "I was quite shocked with the judge's ruling, as all my lawyers were shocked. And I think that if you probably asked the defendant's lawyers, they would have to admit that they were surprised, too. The ruling was just so overwhelming."
Lifeson also told us that he still believes in his case, so he and his lawyers will continue to move forward: "All we can do is go to appeal. I know what happened to me - I know what happened in that stairwell, I know the brutality of these police officers, and I know the way the hotel behaved. And, you know, someone else's opinion is someone else's opinion, but I was there, and I know what it was like."
On December 31st, 2003, Alex Lifeson, his son Justin, and Justin's wife Michelle were at a New Year's Eve party at the Ritz-Carlton, when Justin got up on the bandstand twice, without being invited. The sheriff's department was called in, and Alex thought the deputies were being too harsh on Justin. When he got involved, both men were hit with Tasers, and Alex also suffered a broken nose in the brawl, during which he allegedly pushed one deputy down a flight of stairs and spit blood on another.