Police called on youth drumline practice at Fayette County park

Parents and leaders at the Atlanta Drum Academy were shocked when police were called on their practice at a Fayette County park on Saturday. They said the incident only emphasized the need for their own rehearsal space.

"There was almost 40 kids out there and that's 40 kids that weren't in the street getting in trouble doing other things," James Riles III, Executive Director of the Atlanta Drum Academy, explained.

Moments after the rehearsal started at McCurry Park in Fayette County on Saturday afternoon, Riles said someone called police to the park. He said the officer told them they needed a permit to practice there, which he didn't realize.

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(Credit: Atlanta Drum Academy)

"The policeman, he was real nice, so it wasn't any bickering going back and forth. It was just the fact that somebody called the police on our kids and the only thing we were doing is playing drums and living life staying out of trouble," Riles explained.

Riles said they normally practice at a karate business in Riverdale owned by one of his student's parents, but when that's not available, they have to find another place to play.

"They want millions of dollars to hold these spaces that nobody's even using," Riles said. "The biggest challenge is that everything just costs so much."

The Atlanta Drum Academy started in 2011 and currently has 65 students, some as young as three-years-old.

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(Credit: Atlanta Drum Academy)

"This is the gift that God gave me, and I like sharing it with the kids," Riles said.

"We've probably had 10 performances in the month of June alone, and we're getting ready to go to another performance tomorrow," he added.

He said they're continuing to look for a permanent rehearsal space, so something like what happened Saturday doesn't happen again.

You can find more information about the organization here.