He is also a truly complex person with a past stained with examples of less than stellar behavior, prison time, and unavoidable racial (at best) song lyrics, which garnered the outlaw persona that has stuck with him to this day.
But none the less, he has garnered a cult-like following over the years and has become a staple in country music history, penning songs like Tanya Tucker’s “Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stones),” the iconic “Take This Job And Shove It,” and recording songs like “The Ride.”
Well, I stumbled upon another story of David’s that has me scratching my head for a number of reasons.
In June of 2008, he and his then girlfriend, now wife, Kimberly Hastings were playing the slots at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Both were using the same machine, but Kimberly’s player card was loaded, which turned out to be the first of many issues that transpired shortly after.
David reached over and hit the spin button and low and behold they hit a jackpot. Exactly how much was never said, but it was enough that the couple had to wait for a casino worker to come over and make the payout… so, a decent amount.
Well, as casinos tend to do, it took quite a bit of time for anyone to actually make their way over to them, and in typical David Allan Coe fashion, he didn’t feel like waiting around, so his wife stayed to speak with the workers when they did arrive.
A woman eventually came up and began speaking with Kimberly, but said that they reviewed the security footage and since David was actually the one who hit the spin button, they had to make the transaction with him.
According to David, she told the worker where he was, but also that he was hard of hearing so be sure to not come up behind him and spook him. Whether that was actually said or the lady just ignored it is unclear, and further security footage shows the worker coming up behind him and initiating a conversation.
This is when things start to unravel…
The lady asked for ID and he gave her his Tennessee Driver’s License, which apparently at the time did not contain a photo of him on it, which was a problem since the casino required a photo ID to make the payout.
In the video, you can see David start to get a bit worked up over this and he stands up. This caused the security guard that came over with her to intervene.
This is exactly what David said in an interview with reporter John Gaps III outside a court hearing on April 27th, 2011.
“She says, “Well I have to go get another piece of paper.” And go “Why is that ma’am?”
And she goes “Well you don’t have a social security number.”
And I stood up and went like this and said “My social security number is on my driver’s license. And this probably 24 year old security officer comes up and said “Sit down boy.”
I said “Boy? Do I look like a boy to you man? How big are men where you come from mister?”
Got to admit, that’s a pretty good comeback right on the spot…
He then sat down and continues playing the slot machine, but decided after a minute or so that he was going to just get his wife and leave, letting them keep their money.
The security guard is seen following him when two uniformed police officers enter the frame. One of the officers point at David as he continues to walk past and then seemingly out of no where they decided to forcefully tackle him from behind and cuff him.
Of course, the video has no audio and we only get to hear David’s side of the encounter, but just at face value it seems like a pretty obvious example of using way more force than is necessary. While David’s a bigger guy, there’s no denying the fact that he’s pretty old, so tackling him seems to be out of line.
David said the encounter has plagued him with injuries ever since.
“I had to cancel three shows. They knocked my back out of place, I got to walk with a cane, I got to sit down when I perform and I just think it’s wrong.”
It sure looks like he had a strong case and he sure put the effort in to follow up with the tedious legal process of seeing it through to the end, however it looks like nothing came out of it at the end of the day.
According to this article by the Globe Gazette, the case was dropped in 2012 since the police officers technically didn’t work for the casino.
Regardless, at the end of the day, it’s just another wild story in the wild live of David Allan Coe.