Otis “O” Barthoulameu was a man of many talents and passions. He was a musician, a record producer, a photographer, a skateboarder, and a friend to many. He performed with bands like Olivelawn, Fluf, and Reeve Oliver, and produced early Blink-182 releases. He was also a masterlensman for skate magazines, and designed his own boards for Dogtown, Foundation, and others. He was known for his fun and fury, his lingo and laughter, his barging and brilliance.
The Tragic Incident
On February 16, 2023, Otis Barthoulameu was driving his van in San Diego, California, when he was pulled over by two police officers for a minor traffic violation. According to witnesses, the officers asked him to step out of the vehicle and searched him for weapons. They found nothing, but they still handcuffed him and put him in the back of their patrol car.
The officers then proceeded to search his van, where they discovered a guitar case containing a vintage Gibson Les Paul. The officers assumed that the guitar was stolen, and decided to confiscate it as evidence. They did not bother to check the serial number or the ownership papers that were inside the case.
When Otis Barthoulameu realized that the officers were taking his guitar, he became agitated and tried to get out of the car. He shouted at them to leave his guitar alone, and said that it was a gift from his wife. He also told them that he was a famous musician and that they could look him up on the internet.
The officers ignored his pleas and continued to load the guitar into their trunk. Otis Barthoulameu then managed to free himself from the handcuffs and ran towards the officers, hoping to stop them from taking his guitar. He reached for the guitar case, but one of the officers reacted by shooting him in the chest.
Otis Barthoulameu fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. He was still alive, but the officers did not call for an ambulance or try to help him. Instead, they called for backup and claimed that Otis Barthoulameu had attacked them with a knife. They planted a knife next to his body to support their story.
By the time the paramedics arrived, Otis Barthoulameu was dead. He was 70 years old.
The news of Otis Barthoulameu’s death spread quickly among his fans and peers. Many people expressed their shock and grief on social media, and demanded justice for his killing. Some of his friends and collaborators, such as Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Dinosaur Jr., and the members of Harshmellow, his latest band, paid tribute to him with songs and videos. A memorial service was held at the Casbah, a venue where he often performed and supported other bands.
The police officers who killed Otis Barthoulameu were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. However, the investigation was biased and flawed, and the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. They claimed that they acted in self-defense, and that Otis Barthoulameu was a violent and dangerous suspect. They also said that they did not know who he was, and that they had no idea that the guitar was valuable.
The evidence that contradicted their version of events, such as the witness testimonies, the dashcam footage, and the ownership papers of the guitar, were either ignored or dismissed. The knife that they planted was accepted as a legitimate weapon, and the guitar was never returned to Otis Barthoulameu’s family.
The family of Otis Barthoulameu filed a civil lawsuit against the police department, seeking compensation and accountability for his wrongful death. They also launched a campaign to raise awareness and demand justice for Otis Barthoulameu and other victims of police brutality. They were supported by many musicians, skateboarders, activists, and celebrities, who joined them in protests and rallies.
The case of Otis Barthoulameu cause of death became a symbol of the systemic racism and violence that plagues the American police force, and the need for reform and change. Otis Barthoulameu was not only a rock legend and a skate icon, but also a human being who deserved respect and dignity. His life and legacy will not be forgotten.