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Reply #24: Oh wait! There IS no police report yet. [View All]

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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. Oh wait! There IS no police report yet.
Edited on Sun Aug-09-09 04:34 PM by Stephanie
But this account by others who were arrested is rather chilling.


http://m.stltoday.com/STL/db_7567_index.htm ;jsessionid=FC8334F3DF8A4BBBBF65F378C9967593?pn=0

MEHVILLE -- St. Louis County police arrested six people, including a Post-Dispatch reporter, during a demonstration Thursday evening outside a forum on aging called by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

Two people were arrested on suspicion of assault, one of resisting arrest and three on suspicion of committing a peace disturbance by way of interference -- all misdemeanors, said St. Louis County Police spokesman Rick Eckhard.

***

In a prepared statement released Friday morning, Carnahan said: "Sadly we've seen stories about disrupters around the country, and we have a handful of them here in Missouri. Instead of participating in a civil debate, they have mobilized with special interests in Washington who have lined their pockets by overcharging Americans for a broken health care system."

"I will continue to engage with constituents that I am honored to represent in Congress and fight to achieve long-overdue health insurance reform in our country," Carnahan said.

Echkard said the police captain was finalizing the police report on the arrests Friday morning and more details would be released soon.

One of those arrested was Brian Matthews, 34, of St. Louis city, who works as a rehabber and previously worked on a campaign for a Texas statehouse candidate.

"I feel like it was a bull rush," Matthews said Friday morning. "It all came from behind."

Matthews said he had been inside the forum because he is in favor of a public option for health care. He had attended with a friend, a 51-year-old woman. After the event, as the pair walked to their car, they saw a man on the street who looked as if he had been assaulted. Police surrounded the man.

"My friend took pictures," Matthews said, "and an officer told her not to. She contested that."

Matthews said he and his friend walked away, arm in arm. The officer followed them, and Matthews' friend exchanged words with the officer, Matthews said.

"I can't tell you how many police officers charged us from behind," Matthews said. "I was pushed to the ground by at least one. I was pushed into the back of somebody who was walking away."

Matthews said he was told he was arrested for interference. His friend was maced "after she was subdued by the police," Matthews said. She vomited many times, on the side of the road and then later in the police car, he said.

His friend, Javonne Spitz, 51, of O'Fallon, Mo, said she doesn't think she was interfering with anything.

The officer "told me I couldn't take a picture of them. He may have thought that was interference, I don't. That was a matter of opinion," she said.

Spitz works as a teaching assistant with kids who have emotional problems and behavioral disorders. She said she has never been arrested before. She said she came to the foum Thursday because "I wanted to see what it was all about." But protesters inside kept shouting down speakers, she said, and it was hard to hear anything.

At the forum, Spitz admits she was tossed out because she had been taking photographers of angry protesters as they tried to drown out the speakers. On her way out, a man "grabbed my arm and my camera and tried to break my camera." She told a policeman about it, and he replied: "I'm done." She took a picture of the officer and his badge, and "that made them all very angry," she said. "Too bad because they refused to help me."

As she was walking to her car, she saw the man on the ground. She recognized him as a local minister. She took his picture, to the chagrin of police officers, then was arrested as she walked away, she said. She claims she was maced even after her hands were cuffed behind her back. She said the mace made her sick. "It's very painful," she said. "I was crying, hyperventilating."

***

Spitz said she won't be returning to any such meetings anytime soon.

"These tea baggers are dangerous," she said. "I'm not going to any more town hall meetings until these people calm down."

Kenneth Gladney, 38, a conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with "Don't tread on me" printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was awaiting treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack.

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