No Walk in the Park
An Old City bartender claims injuries in an altercation with park rangers.
Odds are you've met Joe Schultice. Or at least downed a drink he poured you.
For nearly a decade, Schultice, 39, has been tending bar at the venerable Nick's Roast Beef, located on Second Street in Old City.
He's the tall one with the long hair, mustache and--no matter the weather--shorts. Recently those shorts revealed legs covered in welts and bruises.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on Sun., May 4, Schultice and his girlfriend Lisa MaGee, 25, left Nick's and walked down a packed Second Street.
As they made their way through the crowd, the two say a twentysomething reveler accosted them and directed derogatory remarks at MaGee. "Lisa exchanged words with the guy and I pushed him away, and we just kept on walking," recalls Schultice, a former accountant who grew up in Kensington and now lives in Mayfair.
The couple say they stopped to talk in front of Christ Church on Second and Market streets when trouble returned--this time with six of his friends.
"They had us surrounded, and Lisa and the guy who originally approached us were arguing," says Schultice. "He pushed her twice, and the second time he nearly knocked her into the street."
Schultice says he moved to defend MaGee, but before he laid a hand on anybody, two park rangers appeared on the scene and without warning maced him and beat him with their nightsticks as he fell to the ground.
"He wasn't resisting them at all," recalls MaGee. "He was screaming in pain and trying to cover up."
Schultice claims the rangers forced him to lay face down in the street and cuffed him so tightly his hands began to go numb.
He didn't receive hospital treatment for his wounds, but Schultice does have photographic proof of the dozen or so welts and bruises that covered his face, back and legs.
Those who work and drink on Second Street say they were shocked when they learned of the incident.
"Joe's a terrific guy," says Kevin O'Malley, a bartender at Serrano's Restaurant, another Second Street establishment. "If trouble breaks out, he's always been the voice of reason. We were all pretty ticked when we heard of the beating he took."
Independence National Historical Park spokesperson Phil Sheridan confirms an incident did take place but cannot comment on the specifics since it's now a legal matter.
The officers were right to intervene, says Sheridan, since Christ Church falls within the Park Service's jurisdiction.
He adds that the officers on the scene were "law enforcement rangers" and not "interpretive rangers," or tour guides.