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(Credit: Limestone County Sheriff)

Music

Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson cleared of child abuse charges

Nine months ago, Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson was arrested on charges of child abuse, for which he has now been cleared. According to reports, a Limestone County judge acquitted Johnson of all charges on December 16th.

Johnson was arrested on March 24th after a grand jury confronted him with charges of wilful torture, willful abuse, and viciously beating and maltreating a child under the age of eighteen. He was subsequently released on bail. According to a statement shared by Steve Johnson’s defence attorney, Nick Lough, the drummer “maintained his innocence the entire time” and noted that Johnson “had to wait for his day in court like so many people do”.

The initial charge contained no details of the alleged abuse. However, Lough revealed that Johnson was charged over what he described as “a spanking incident and nothing more”. As Johnson’s other attorney Marcus Helstowski noted, following his acquittal, the drummer is looking forward to “spending time during the holidays with his family and children”, and is “thankful he’s no longer subject to prosecution”.

Initially, Johnson was refused bail on grounds that he had violated the previous protective order, to which he pled guilty in March 2020. The order was filed by the drummer’s ex-wife, who accused him of harassing and threatening her. She also alleged that Johnson had choked, injured and stalked her following their separation.

The allegations came as a shock to fans of Johnson’s band, Alabama Shakes, who have earned nine Grammy Award nominations and won four. Johnson is a founding member of the Athens, Alabama-based group who, in 2015, released their wildly successful album Sound and Colour, which acted as the follow up to their 2012 debut Boys and Girls.

The band have been on hiatus since 2018, at which time lead vocalist Brittany Howard decided to pursue a solo career. She released her debut solo record, Jaime, back in 2019