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Thread: Police apologize, drop charge against Cindy Sheehan

  1. #1
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Police apologize, drop charge against Cindy Sheehan

    WASHINGTON (AP) Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan Wednesday and offered apologies to her as well as a congressman's wife after they were ejected from President Bush's State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

    Police removed Sheehan and Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Fla., from the visitors gallery Tuesday night. Sheehan was taken away in handcuffs before Bush's arrival at the Capitol and charged with a misdemeanor, while Young was not arrested.

    Capitol Police did not explain why Sheehan was arrested and Young was not. However the unlawful conduct charge against Sheehan was being dropped, according to Deputy House Sergeant of Arms Kerri Hanley. And in a private meeting Wednesday, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer apologized and planned to issue a statement, Rep. Thomas told reporters.

    "They were operating under the misguided impression that the T-shirt was not allowed," Hanley said Wednesday. "The fact that she (Sheehan) was wearing a T-shirt is not enough reason to be asked to leave the gallery, or be removed from the gallery, or be arrested."

    A foreign-born American citizen who was the guest of Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., also was taken by police from the gallery just above the House floor, Hastings said Wednesday.

    The congressman met with Gainer and said he also requested a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., about the incident.

    "I'd like to find out more information," Hastings said in an interview, identifying the man only as being from Broward County in Florida. "He is a constituent of mine. I invited him proudly."

    Sheehan's T-shirt made reference to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq: "2245 Dead. How many more?" Capitol Police charged her with a misdemeanor for violating the District of Columbia's code against unlawful or disruptive conduct on any part of the Capitol grounds, a law enforcement official said. She was released from custody and flew home Wednesday to Los Angeles.

    Young's shirt had just the opposite message: "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."

    The two women appeared to have offended tradition as much as the law, according to several law enforcement and congressional officials. By custom, the annual address is to be a dignified affair in which the president reports on the state of the nation. Guests in the gallery who wear shirts deemed political in nature have, in past years, been asked to change or cover them up.

    Generally, the House's sergeant at arms sets out rules at the House speaker's direction. The Capitol Police enforce them and the Secret Service evaluates any threat to the president.

    Rules dealing mainly with what people can bring and telling them to refrain from reading, writing, smoking, eating, drinking, applauding or taking photographs are outlined on the back of gallery passes given to tourists every day.

    However, State of the Union guests don't receive any guidelines, Hanley said. "You would assume that if you were coming to an event like the State of the Union address you would be dressed in appropriate attire," she said.

    Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, had been invited to the speech and given a ticket by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.

    Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said police warned Sheehan that displays such as her T-shirt were not allowed.

    Sheehan said she had one arm out of her coat when an officer yelled, "Protester." She said she intended to file a First Amendment lawsuit over the episode.

    Young was removed from the gallery during Bush's address and told she was being treated the same as Sheehan.

    Her husband was angry about the way she was treated.

    "Because she had on a shirt that someone didn't like that said support our troops, she was kicked out of this gallery," Young said on the House floor Wednesday, holding up the gray shirt.

    "Shame, shame," he scolded.

    Mrs. Young was sitting about six rows from first lady Laura Bush when she was asked to leave. She argued with police in the hallway outside the House chamber.

    "They said I was protesting," she told the St. Petersburg Times. "I said, 'Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, 'We consider that a protest.' I said, 'Then you are an idiot.'"
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Police apologize, drop chage against Cindy Sheehan

    Surprise. Apparently what she did wasn't illegal after all. Just more freaking out on freedom of speech/expression on the part of the Bushites.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Police apologize, drop chage against Cindy Sheehan

    Well, you know how the bushies are all about democracy, right?
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Glasgow53's Avatar
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    Default Re: Police apologize, drop charge against Cindy Sheehan

    Bush probably just wanted her out of the room while he did his speech. He is afraid of what she might say. Afterwards, they let her off. If I knew that would get me thrown out, I would go there with a shirt with the same thing on it. Throw me out too.
    Keep passing the open windows.

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