Capitol police attack, break leg of anti-war minister (video)

PeaceLove says: "Clear and unambiguous footage of Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus being attacked by Capitol police. Yearwood had stood in line to get into the Petraeus hearings but was denied entry. When the Reverend protested, he was assaulted by Capitol police, who broke his leg and arrested him for 'assaulting a police officer.'"
Picture 12-6Capitol Hill Police "football tackled" Hip Hop Activist who was in line to enter hearing room for General Petreus' testimony on Capitol Hill

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., president of the Hip Hop Caucus, was attacked by six capitol police today, when he was stopped from entering the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill, where General Petreaus gave testimony today to a joint hearing for the House Arms Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee on the war in Iraq.

After waiting in line throughout the morning for the hearing that was scheduled to start at 12:30pm, Rev. Yearwood was stopped from entering the room, while others behind him were allowed to enter. He told the officers blocking his ability to enter the room, that he was waiting in line with everyone else and had the right to enter as well. When they threatened him with arrest he responded with "I will not be arrested today." According to witnesses, six capitol police, without warning, "football tackled him. He was carried off in a wheel chair by DC Fire and Emergency to George Washington Hospital.

Rev. Yearwood was examined for possible head and leg injuries then transferred to Central Processing. He has been charged with "assaulting a police officer."

Rev. Yearwood said as he was being released from the hospital to be taken to central booking, "The officers decided I was not going to get in Gen. Petreaus' hearing when they saw my button, which says 'I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.'"



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  2. This might be unpopular to say but you do see him clearly pull back when the cops goto grab him. I’m not a lawyer but I think that counts as resisting arrest.

    I don’t think the assault charge will go far. It looks like his arms go up in a defensive position, not in on offensive manner.

    The audio isn’t clear but it doesn’t sound like they tell him what he’s being charged with either until well after they’ve handcuffed him.

  3. Did you guys actually watch this video? Did you not see him lunge in an attempt to enter the room? Stopping people who try to force their way into the room is what they were SUPPOSED to do.

    I hate police brutality as much as anyone (and I love the people of Iraq as well), so please don’t dilute the meaning of the term and the real outrage that should be felt by acts that really are “clear and unambiguous”

  4. Yeah, I am a lawyer and (unfortunately) the video doesn’t really support the Reverend. It’s pretty clear that he was denied entry, then makes a move either away from the police, towards one of the officers, or towards the door of the chamber. The story sounds bad, but i think the video clears things up. Unfortunate, that his leg was broken, but he shouldn’t be wrestling with police officers, regardless of the reason.

  5. As much as I sympathize with his views, the video is pretty damning. He moved to either get away or around the officers. That is when they tackled him. It was not without warning as the writeup would lead us to believe.

  6. Do Capitol police have the discretion to decide which citizens can attend public hearings?

    I hate to think this kind of thing happens in my country, but I’d like to know the full story. Was he turned away because of the button he was wearing, or did he give them another reason… maybe by arguing or otherwise signaling that he was going to disrupt the hearing?

    Bush’s team has famously turned dissenters away from political events and rallies. I can *sorta* understand that, as they’re not official government functions. But the Capitol police?

  7. “Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are going to be on this like white on rice.”

    ok… that was an interesting choice of words….

  8. As a former staffer who has known many of the Capitol police officers I strongly doubt they would overtly attack someone without potential cause. They have a very tough job of balancing safety with public access it’s a thankless job.

    Regardless of what the man’s politics are one way or the other.

  9. Yes, it appears the police used excessive force and it’s not clear why he was singled out in the first place. However, once he was told he was arrested he attempted to leave AND he made the first aggressive move (he jerked his right shoulder from the police officer). It was this movement that caused the white and black police officers to take him down.

  10. Yea, in the video he clearly made the first move and that’s enough to make him lose any lawsuit. Excessive force maybe, but in the officer’s minds he may have been reaching for their guns. We can’t see too much because his back is to us and there is another officer blocking the view. However, it does look like he’s just making a bolt for the door to get into the hearing.

  11. Interesting. If you listen at the start, they stopped him for cutting in line. Of course, the video starts right about there, but it does look like he goes from just standing there beside the officer, apparently not in line, to getting ready to walk in and we don’t see how he got there. Did he wait in line? He said he did, the officers clearly thought he didn’t.

    He also clearly lashed out when the officers went to move him away from the door, and that was his big mistake. As soon as he lashed out and made for the door, whamo, he’s on the ground, apparently refusing to put his hands behind his back. Tip: if a police officer asks you to put your hands behind your back, you should do so. If you wish to draw up complaints later, that’s fine, but in the short term, I’d do what he says.

    However, it seems to me he could have stood in line and walked right in and nobody would have even noticed. Also, why was that camera there? Was he just standing there all day long filming people going in the door? The video seemed to start just as the Rev moved away from standing up against the wall and tried to go into the door.

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    If a policeman tells me to go to the back of the line, I believe I would go to the back of the line. So I have to wait 5 more minutes? Fine. If it avoids confusion, fine. I would not, for example, try to bolt from him and run through the door.

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  12. Bonzo McGrue – It’s not just at political events that Team Bush has turned away possibly unsympathetic attendees. There have been official events as well, and government paid security used to back up that policy. So yes, that kind of behavior has been going on.

    As far as the video, I think it’s clear Rev. Yearwood had no intention of being arrested, but I think it’s also clear he had no intention of physically confronting anyone, either.

  13. THECYNIC is absolutely right–this thing was totally staged. I bet Yearwood’s leg was already pre-broken before he instigated the whole thing!

  14. Jesus Christ, people. I consider myself right-wing, but no, disobeying authority does not automatically entitle any jack-booted thug with a badge to go batshit on your ass. (I don’t give a shit what the law has to say about it. The law can be stupid. It doesn’t mean you have to be.)

    There seems to be a rash of this stuff happening lately. They did the same thing to a 100 lb. girl in Rhode Island a few weeks ago.

    The story is here:

    Photo (not for squeamish) is here:

    Christ, boingboingers are making me sound like a hippie. I hope the flying pigs don’t shit on my car.

  15. OK, I’m not a lawyer either, but….

    Since when is “arguing” a crime? And since when is “pulling away” assaulting a police officer? C’mon! That’s an excuse, considering the guy is surrounded by six armed officers. Maybe he should be charged with hurting their feelings, too.

    Given a fair trial, I think that a judge would decide that this arrest was unwarranted (no pun intended). The Rev. should be able to argue false arrest, if there wer any justice in this country.

    “Whatever original cause for arrest the officers had is now irrelevant in the eys of the court, I’d imagine.”

    Unless, of course, there is video and witnesses proving that they had no cause to arrest him in the first place.

    “The audio isn’t clear but it doesn’t sound like they tell him what he’s being charged with either until well after they’ve handcuffed him.”

    I don’t think they have to, by law–but again, I’m no lawyer.

    “Bush’s team has famously turned dissenters away from political events and rallies. I can *sorta* understand that, as they’re not official government functions.”

    Really? And you’re comfortable with the Secret Service being used to attack dissenters? Are they not “offical government” agents? We’re not talking about a Bush family barbecue, and we’re not talking about unlawful behavior, just citizens excersing their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly.

    This incident is yet another example of police overreacting, and authority confusing dissent with insurrection. Welcome to Bush’s America, where everyone is considered a terrorist until proven otherwise.

    Prove me wrong.

  16. This has happened to me as well. It goes something like this…

    2 cops grab me and start yelling to “stop fighting us” and “calm down sir”. In the meantime, I’m limp, not fighting back and getting roughed up while they yell things that make everyone around me think I’m fighting back. It’s a strategy that makes them look like their just doing their jobs and makes me look like I’m out of control no matter what I do.

    Bouncers do the same thing. Despicable. Cowardly.

  17. The ACLU has some great guidelines on dealing with situations where you think you’re being treated unfairly by the police. The article is titled “Know Your Rights: What to Do If You’re Stopped by the Police”.

    A few samples:
    * “Don’t get into an argument with the police.”
    * “Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.”
    * “Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.”
    * “Remember officers’ badge and patrol car numbers.”
    * “If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.”

    If you feel you’ve been wronged, then go with the flow and file complaints afterward, in court if necessary. Don’t risk harm to yourself and jailtime by resisting the police.

    The Reverend basically did everything the ACLU suggests you don’t do, including trying to get away when the police tried to apprehend him, and that’s why he got tackled.

    Interestingly, the people shouting in the crowd are Cindy Sheehan and her sister. Adam Kokesh (an ex-military anti-war protester) is seen entering right before the Reverend with no apparent issues.

  18. If he wanted to slip in without causing a scene, surely I could have waited until after he was admitted to affix the “I LOVE IRAQIS” button.

  19. mattymatt:

    If only freedom of speech applied to everyone equally (especially at government events) then I agree putting the button on later would have made more sense.

    By your tone and that of many others in this discussion it’s a wonder the US isn’t still a colony of Great Britain. Sometimes the point is to get noticed and “be made an example of” if only to wake the folks asleep at the wheel and to affect change. So even if it was stages the reaction by the police is still beyond a reasonable amount of force.
    meh. Now I’m just sounding preachy.

  20. This has got to be the most rational and calm comment section I’ve ever seen. Compare the comments here with those at the alternet link.

  21. I’m sorry, but that was hardly clear and unambiguous footage of an attack. He was informed he was under arrest, he then proceeded to resist. When that happens, police are allowed to use force, and thats when injuries occur to suspects as well as police.

    As to why he was denied entry, I can’t tell from that footage.

  22. Regarding the excessive force issue. When a person/suspect makes a sudden move like the Reverend did the officers have no idea what he is doing. He could be going for their weapons. The officers are trained to react to that sort of thing and immobilize that person in case he is going for the weapon. The officers can’t stand around and wait to decide whether or not he is going for their weapon. If that was the case, they or innocent civilians may be injured or worse. Whether it’s a 100 lb girl or a 200 lb man, when they have a gun it evens things out.

  23. Oh for Christ’s sake. He could be about to detonate a suicide vest as well. Better just shoot everyone in the head. Safer that way.

  24. Not only did he resist when being led away, he made an obvious juke towards the door into the secure area that the police were tasked with guarding. This following a long and loud confrontation which set the stage for heightened suspicion. Was the force excessive? Probably. But if you try to pull an Emmitt Smith through a crowd of police into a sensitive area, the only thing they will be thinking about is putting you on the floor.

  25. Unfortunately such police brutality is quite common, and is all too often undocumented; officers are able to write off such attacks as self-defense against an aggressor. Thus not only does an innocent citizen get unjustifiably brutalized, they also face a very serious criminal charge. Thankfully this case was documented on video, as more are each day, though even such clear-cut documentation is often unable to successfully (on a large scale)bring the truth to light and see that justice is done.

  26. It’s counterintuitive, and surely very hard to force oneself to do, but the Gandhi approach is the only one that works against superior numbers and force. Make them use force against a completely passive opponent, and it entirely removes the legitimacy of the use of force. Make sure there are cameras to record the unprovoked brutality, and there can be no question about who was right and who was wrong.

    The police win in this instance not only on the technicality of resisting arrest, but because the question of why they singled him out in the first place, and whether his pin was protected under the first amendment, has been lost in the shadow of the resisting arrest vs. excessive force debate.

  27. Welcome to the US, please stand in line to be issued your jackboots.

    Am I the only one who is physically sickened by watching 6 police attack a minister?

  28. Whether or not it was right to deny him entry, it’s clearly visible that he refused officers’ orders to move away, and even tried to push by them after being told he wasn’t admitted. By attempting to push by the officers, he entered their space and even made contact with them, which is assault.

    From what little the video shows, I don’t think he should have been denied entry, but it was wrong for him to disobey officers’ orders and to charge towards them.

    I’m very much against the war in Iraq, and many of Bush’s policies, but this type of behavior isn’t the way to go about fixing things.

  29. Apparently it’s just a flesh wound…

    A spokeswoman for the Hip-Hop Caucus, Liz Havstad, told UPI that Yearwood was treated at George Washington Hospital for injuries to his ankle.

    She said he had been released on his own recognizance Tuesday evening and had not had time to weigh whether to make a formal complaint about his treatment.

    If he was treated that brutally, and without cause, why would there be any question about whether to file a complaint?

  30. The Washington Post article from Sept 11 ( ) has a few more details:

    “…Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., of the D.C.-based Hip Hop Caucus, who allegedly refused to move back after jumping in front of a line of people waiting to get inside the room. He was charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer.”

    There were other protesters arrested (including Cindy Sheehan), all charged with disorderly conduct after shouting outside the meeting room.

  31. Ceronomus, he may be a minister, but he’s also a race-baiter who has said things like

    African Americans are most often merely the victims of white violence

    which is simply not true. And he has a history of behavior in Senate hearings which I’m sure the cops were familiar with. Whether the force that was used on him was excessive or not, we are not talking about some gentle little pacifist pastor who turns the other cheek a la Gandhi and who was cut down like a daisy under a lawnmower.

  32. “The officers decided I was not going to get in Gen. Petreaus’ hearing when they saw my button, which says ‘I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.'”

    I highly doubt this was the case considering Code Pink members attended all 3 hearings wearing their pink shirts, pink crowns and all. If Cap Police were singling people out I’m sure Code Pink would have been the first to be denied entry considering their past actions around the Hill.

    Not to defend the police officer’s actions – they very well could have been out of line and I don’t have the expertise to tell you whether or not that was an excess of force – but the video doesn’t make it clear why the Reverend was approached in the first place.

    We are often too quick to judge.

  33. There were other protesters arrested (including Cindy Sheehan), all charged with disorderly conduct after shouting outside the meeting room”

    Cindy Sheehan was charged with disorderly conduct for interrupting the hearing while inside the hearing room during the hearing. Regardless of your views on Iraq, that is highly inappropriate in any venue.

    “The officers decided I was not going to get in Gen. Petreaus’ hearing when they saw my button, which says ‘I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.'”

    I highly doubt this was the case considering Code Pink members attended all 3 hearings wearing their pink shirts, pink crowns and all. If Cap Police were singling people out I’m sure Code Pink would have been the first to be denied entry considering their past actions around the Hill.

    Not to defend the police officers actions – they very well could out have been out of line and I don’t have the expertise to judge if that was excessive force – but the video doesn’t make it clear why the officers approached the Reverend in the first place.

    We are often too quick to judge.

  34. If that’s not “excessive force,” we’re all in trouble. Regardless of why the police prevented Yearwood from entering the hearings, the video still seems pretty “clear and unambiguous” to me. I know Yearwood resisted being manhandled by the cops, but to extrapolate from that to “resisting arrest,” let alone “assault on an officer,” seems insane.

    Thanks to the video, the assault charge appears to be a phony, trumped up charge. If the video is to be believed, some of those officers should lose their jobs and be prosecuted for lying.

  35. This makes me sick to my stomach. A man waits in line to enter the gallery, gets refused entrance and winds up with a broken leg, not to mention charges filed against him.

    If you listen real closely you can hear the ringing of Jack Boots.

    Welcome to the new America.

  36. I’ve always got mixed feelings about incidents like this one.

    On the one hand, the Rev. was treated in an absolutely disgusting manner. The cops who piled on him should probably lose their jobs, although they probably won’t, and if he’s got a legit injury, the DC police force should be paying the medical bills, plus pain and suffering.

    Aggravating this rather typical incident is the systematic use of arrest and detainment the Bush administration has used against dissenters since the beginning. An insidious violation of 1st and 4th amendment rights. In my opinion, the president should NEVER be shielded from dissent. (Just think about it- Bush the mealy-mouthed, slack-jawed yokel vs. the Bread and Puppet Dolphin marionette. Comedy gold.)

    On the other hand, it does seem that the Reverend is spoiling for a little conflict. I have no problem with civil disobedience as a philosophy, nor do I believe that getting arrested isn’t sometimes the right thing to do. But as my crack about the B&P hippies indicates, I have little faith in left-wing protest theater. There’s too much water already gone under that bridge.

    So, if (and I can’t really tell from the video) the Rev. decided at some point before or during his meeting with the police to create a scene, then these questions have to be asked: Did we need proof that the police can be brutal? Did we need proof that the Bush administration violates the free speech and assembly rights of citizens? Maybe. But maybe not. As Scrooge McDuck once said, “Work Smarter, Not Harder”

  37. I have to wonder if some of the comments defending the six very large men breaking the leg of an minster twenty years their senior are, well, professional.

    So he flinched when they grabbed him: is that enough of a reason to tackle him to the ground and break his leg?

    Maybe in your America: but not in mine. And, no, thanks, I don’t want to visit.

  38. In watching the video, it seems clear he is brought down after he lunges towards the door to the hearing room. You call it pulling away, but it looks like a break for the door to me. YMMV.

    Why they were trying to prevent him from entering is a separate issue on which I may or may not agree with you all. But once someone tries to lunge his way past police towards a congressional hearing, I want that person stopped!

    Also–Bush probably has NOTHING to do with this. Congress runs the capital and the Executive branch has almost no authority in congressional spaces. (Watch the State of the Union address–the president has no Secret Service guards within the chambers as he shakes hands!) Blame it on the Speaker of the House!

    Ranten N. Raven

  39. “So, if (and I can’t really tell from the video) the Rev. decided at some point before or during his meeting with the police to create a scene, then these questions have to be asked: Did we need proof that the police can be brutal? Did we need proof that the Bush administration violates the free speech and assembly rights of citizens? Maybe. But maybe not. As Scrooge McDuck once said, “Work Smarter, Not Harder””

    Geezus Kryst. “Well, we knew the cops would over-react…”

    How the fuck is this acceptable??!!one!!!eleven!!

    I’d say that you people deserve what you get, except that I’m still living here.

  40. The issue is not whether the Rev. stepped out of line, figuratively or literally (God forbid!) but that the use of force was excessive. OK? Cops need to exercise judgement just like everyone else. If I injure someone on the street, can I get away with, “You never know, he might have had a gun!”? Courts expect citizens to use reasonable force, not any and all force they might want to use. Cops should be held to the same standard. That’s the difference between appropriate or reasonable force and excessive force.

    “Obey the law and everything will be OK”? Are you fucking kidding me? Where do you live? Christ.

    Yeah, OK. Shouting is now “disorderly conduct,” “making contact” is now “assault,” and the best way to avoid police brutality is to not wear buttons they might find offensive? Baaaa!

    Jesus. The next time you look cross-eyed at some cop and he knees you in the groin in order to prevent you going for your gat, I hope you’ll rethink this. But I forget, this couldn’t happen to you–you’re too well-behaved! And white, no doubt.

    Should he have resisted arrest? No. Not wise. Does that give cops license to use excessive force? Of course not. This kind of shit happens too often for it to be dismissed out of hand. I have great respect for law-abiding police officers, but the temptation to abuse power is too great to gloss over stuff like this.

  41. THECYNIC – Your ‘just do what they tell us to do’ response seems at first so troll, and then so droll. Bravo my friend, for exposing the I’ll-do-what-the-nice-man-with-the-big-stick-tells-me-to mindset. “If they block my way into a meeting hall I…” That’s genius. However it’s not so funny to think that there are people out there who seem to believe that most injustice is created by the victims. So, maybe your message is going over the heads of your audience? Why not tell us what you really think?

    Will – left-wing protest theater? It’s called protest, plain and simple. And yes, when you protest, you try and make a big deal out of it. This proof you require? My answer would be yes, you need as much proof as you can possibly get. It makes the case against tyranny that much stronger, hmm?

    Thanks everybody for an informative and entertaining discussion.

  42. I agree Nick. The “just do what you’re told” certainly didn’t work for Jean Charles de Menezes. In London 2006 he caught a train and was shot in the head. Initally they said he was running from the police and wearing a heavy coat. Both were untrue.

    But I’m pretty sure THECYNIC is taking the piss.

  43. I had a cop point his gun at me once, in my own house. I put my hands up and identified myself. He put the gun away.

    Freezing and demonstrating you’re complying with a request usually works very well with police. We’ll never know if that would have been the case here, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say yes.

    These cops are still jackasses, but neither party is blameless.

  44. It is certainly NOT clear that he made the first move. From the angle of the camara, it is POSSIBLE that one office grabbed on to his right wrist or arm when he attempted to take a step. This COULD have caused the situation to look as if “made a move.”

    Then, game over. The cops get to do what cops do best.

    Don’t say it is clear he made a move or it is obvious he started the physical interaction from what is shown in the video.

  45. ‘m n fn f th Bsh dmnstrtn nd thr bltntly fcst plcs, bt ftr wtchng ths vd, dn’t s wht th dl s.

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  46. T fllw p my wn pst @39:

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  47. “#36 by Nick: Making physical contact with anyone without their permission has always been assault, regardless of cop or civilian.”

    I understand that. What I’m saying is that laws are meant to be interpreted in light of the real world. This is what judges do. They are able to say, c’mon, he touched you, he didn’t assault you. They use their reason and judgment.

    Just as cops are trained to do. They are perfectly capable of saying, “OK, this guy’s a little excited, I have not just been assaulted, but I need to subdue him and cuff him.”

    This wasn’t a crack house raid, where you can’t blame cops for using overwhelming force to protect themselves. This was a senior citizen surrounded by SIX cops. Surely they could have subdued him without injuring him.

    But then, that would require common sense and the exercise of sound judgment, something we apparently don’t expect from our police officers. Talk about low standards.

    “Did he break his leg, I guess. Did the cops intend to break his leg? Not a chance. It certainly looks like a freak accident.”

    Um, a safe didn’t fall out of the sky. That’s a freak accident. Actions have consequences. If the situation were reversed, imagine the civilian saying, “I didn’t know that tackling that cop was going to break his leg.” Bang of the gavel. Conviction. Because we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.

    “You have the right to protest. You do not have the right to protest in such a manner that it tramples on the rights of other people, which is exactly what these protesters were doing.”

    They knew what they were doing. If they were breaking the law, I’m OK with them being arrested. They knew they would be. They did it to make a point. It’s called civil disobedience. Gandhi used it. So did Martin Luther King, Jr.

  48. Coaxial and Jamie Flournoy said a lot of stuff I thunked, but they done talked purdier.

    I’ll just add that on the question of excessive force, six guys piling on to one guy does look like a bit much, but each officer is acting independently. There’s not really time for drawing straws to see who gets dibs, and they don’t appear to beat the shit out of him once he’s on the ground. The force may still have been excessive by some definition, but as noted that was hardly a football tackle (you can ask the quarterback for the Bills (tasteless topical humor, I’m a real witty king.))

    Like JF said, the biggest tragedy is the original cause for arrest is lost by his subsequent action, and thus likely won’t be called into question by whoever you or I would want to call it into question.

  49. I’m just astounded at how many boingboingers are all in favor of this kind of treatment from Officer Friendly.

    I can only wish it on each one of you.

  50. If these officers had shot this man 20 times authoritarians would surely crawl out of the woodwork to defend their model police work and explain that had the individual simply followed orders nothing bad would have befallen him.

    If these police were seriously “just doing their jobs” they would not have charged this man with assault. An assault is an attempt to cause violent injury. That obviously didn’t occur. This inevitably perjurous exaggeration is an attempt to inflict completely unnecessary harm on the man because he refused to do what he was told. These facts make the assertion that the level of force here used was reasonable a rather difficult one to swallow. One does not need a police procedure review board to observe that certain overzealousness in one respect likely means overzealousness in other respects as well.

    This has nothing to do with the Bush administration. This is nothing recent. This is simply the nature of authority. People who are given power tend to use it, and people are not always rational or reasonable. People like it when others do what they tell them to. This wouldn’t be so frustrating, perhaps, if it was something the public generally recognized for what it is. But so many are so eager to rationalize and defend things like this… often the same who complain that checks and balances designed to prevent these kinds of things expose our country to the risk of terrorist attack, no matter how they are constituted…

    The eagerness to stand aside the bully in his violence refects a dangerous weakness at the heart of our country.

  51. “Civil disobedience of the type you’re talking about is when you break a law to show that the law itself is unfair and/or a violation of your rights.”

    That’s your definitiion, and it’s an overly literal one. The idea is to draw attention to your cause.

    “The only thing the protesters were breaking is our right to peaceful assembly. And you’re okay with that?”

    Shocking! I guess when the world’s going to hell in a handbasket, we should stick to the Marquis of Queensbury’s rule.

    As far as I can tell, none of these demonstrators have broken any bones. And the assemblies have gone on unimpeded by the terrifying forces of anarchy and chaos embodied in mothers of dead soldiers and old ministers.

    I guess if we were a nation of doily-knitting grannies and Edwardian fops, we would never exceed the bounds of polite public discourse as you see it. But in the real world, people shout sometimes (gasp!) and sometimes they make boors of themselves (eek!). And yes, sometimes, when the stakes are high, they do things that cause a little disruption. The Boston Tea Party, Rosa Parks, black people sitting at white-only lunch counters. All unruly enemies of peaceful assembly in your book, I guess.

    “Also, I think I missed the Gandhi episode where he shouldered off the authorities and tried to make a break for the door.”

    Bad judgement on his part. All I can say to those of you who see that as dangerous activity is: grow a nut. I’ve seen rougher action on grade school playgrounds.

  52. There are some people who will say anything to defend the police.

    These are the people who would have pounded an other nail into Jesus Christ if they had been there.

  53. It couldn’t have been the button as the Iraqi people are not the enemy… yeah? There isn’t a thing wrong with claiming to love the people of Iraq, that is why we are bringing them democracy after all…

  54. With all the people defending the cops in this instance, it’s no wonder your country’s freedoms are going down the crapper.

    It’s like Homer Simpson sitting on his couch, laughing at a fatal accident on TV. “Ha ha, it’s funny ’cause I don’t know them!”

  55. First of all, what is wrong with all the knuckleheads talking like this:

    “H ls cld hv ndd th ntr thng t ny tm by syng, “Ys sr, ffcr.” ll thy rgnlly skd hm t d ws t g t th bck f th ln.”

    English people, english! Or any other legitimate language, please.

    Regarding “minister” Yearwood, if this isn’t obviously someone looking to stir up trouble, I don’t know what is. The fact that he brought a team of supporters who carefully began videotaping his entry into the room before any confrontation took place is enough evidence that they were at least looking for something to capture on tape. Doesn’t he know that there are more constructive ways to make a difference?

  56. Dude there were plenty of cameras there that were not there purely for Lennox. It was a big thing that was happening down there but I suppose you haven’t a clue about that.

    Please could people refrain from putting minister and reverend in quotes. Do you think that other ministers and reverends were chosen divinely or something and this guy ain’t good enough?

    Why say he was there to cause trouble? The fact that he didn’t cause trouble seems to be going over your head…

    I mean FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE he is against the war in Iraq. If anything he is the nemesis of the real trouble makers.

    Wake the fuck up!

  57. Cynic,

    Your arguments lack any subtlety. Equating Cindy Sheehan with fascism? Christ.

    And you’ve wandered off-topic. Remember the topic? The Capitol police and Minister Yearwood?

    No one is saying that it should be legal to disrupt assemblies or that assaulting police officers is OK. But laws are only as useful as the common sense that applies them.

    Common sense dictates that Cindy Sheehan is not a terrorist or an enemy of the peace. Common sense dictates that pulling away from someone, or touching them, is not assault. You are not using common sense, and neither are the cops.

    What’s really behind your legalistic arguments, which are totally divorced from reality as it’s actually playing out today, is a desire to defend the status quo and to “save” democracy from being accessible to ordinary people, keeping it in the hands of the federal government and the cops, where you obviously think it belongs.

    I’m officially done with this thread.

  58. Everyone behaved badly here. The protester os just the sort who comes around looking, hoping for negative attention, and when he gets it, he ruins the effectiveness of the protest. I do think the police overreacted, as seems to be typical- but unless their silly charges are held up by the court, it’s kinda moot.

    I spent years goping to these things and it’s common practice for them to charge you with every last thing they can think of- assault on a police officer (yelling), resisting arrest (squirming when they hit you), and so on. The only way to be effective in these situations is to leave no shadow of doubt on your own behavior. People latch on to any reason to believe in puclic officials, especially cops, so your own behavior has to be near-saintly if you want to prevail.

  59. What’s with all these people with keyboards missing the vowels? You do know your posts are very hard to read, right? Take the first one. I can’t make any sense of it.

    This isn’t Arabic (where I hear it’s common practice to omit most of the vowels). Please spell properly. We just want to read the posts, not play “guess what this word means”.

  60. #56 thecynic, if you’re going to use legal terms you should use legal terms. We do not live in a democracy. People do not have an equal say. They do have an equal opinion. If you can voice your opinion louder than the person next to you that is your right- depending on the authorities definition of “peaceably”.

  61. TheCynic wrote:

    You see a man being tackled by police, I see a man attempting to disrupt an assembly whose only purpose is to try and get information out in the open.

    What does the appropriateness of the behavior of the police have to do with the whether or not you agree with the man’s politics?

    This thread isn’t about all the people who got arrested for being disruptive during this public hearing. No one has a problem with that. This thread is about a single person who was not clearly being disruptive, but rather was arrested for what appears to be disagreeing with a police officer, who was tackled with a show of force that was completely unrelated to the level of threat he presented, and was charged with assault when clearly no assault occured. It doesn’t matter if he was there representing the radical left, or the KKK. The bottom line is that he was treated unfairly, and the fairness with which people are treated at a public hearing in the halls on Congress is fairly important.

    If you can’t bring yourself to think critically about what happenned here because you don’t agree with the man’s politics you are no better than the closed minded leftist that you are complaining about.

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