33 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne Arrested for Urinating on (Well, Really Near) the Alamo
Let’s see: you’re a rock star, stumbling around an unfamiliar city while wearing your girlfriend/manager’s dress. You feel the call of nature and, not knowing where the nearest gas station or hotel is, relieving yourself on a nearby statue seems like a good idea in your drunken state. But in the middle of the afternoon, with all sorts of people around, it’s a good way to get yourself in trouble — and that’s what famously happened to Ozzy Osbourne in San Antonio, Texas on Feb. 19, 1982.
Over the years, the story has taken on mythic proportions, stating that Osbourne urinated on the walls of the Alamo, the mission that was the site of a famous battle during the state’s War of Independence in 1836, and is considered to be sacred ground and a symbol of Texas pride.
“It’s just not true,” an unnamed guide at the Alamo told Chris Rodell of the Boston Herald in 2003. “If he had, the police wouldn’t have arrested him. They would have beaten him to within an inch of his life.”
However, the truth is that Ozzy urinated on the Alamo Cenotaph, a 60-foot high statue erected in 1939 to honor the 189 Texans who died there. The Cenotaph is adjacent to the mission, in the Alamo Plaza.
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Osbourne was arrested for public urination and intoxication. He was reportedly released on a $40 bond, which was posted by Jack Orbin, who was promoting Osbourne’s concert at the HemisFair that night. However, the concert was marred by fans who threw rocks because they were unable to get into the sold-out show. Twenty-four people were arrested for their part in the riot.
The combination of the two events caused Osbourne to be banned from San Antonio by the city council. Ten years later, Osbourne was pardoned after he donated $10,000 to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who maintain and manage the Alamo — one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas.
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