The Carnahan Carnival; Update: Gladney’s attorney recounts details of beating; Update: Carnahan staffer among those arrested? Update: Post-Dispatch buries Gladney paragraphs
posted at 11:07 am on August 7, 2009 by Patrick Ishmael
As I noted yesterday in my pre-town hall primer, there were rumors that not everyone that could be let in, would be. And so it was: entire areas of the “town hall” were apparently cordoned off despite the massive attendance, with sections set aside for Carnahan’s astroturfing operation.
This was the line to get in… an hour before the event:
“I like your flag.” That’ll come into play later.
The parking lot at the school was full when I arrived, and people were already crossing the field near the street on their way from their street spots. (Hence, the cars exiting in the line video; there were no spaces to be had.) I had to park three blocks away even as a relatively early arrival; others parked much farther away.
I got into the line immediately after taping it, but not everyone was abiding by the same rules. Carnahan staffers were wandering through the line with a list of “guests” that, as expected, got to jump the line and join the Astroturf of Purple inside. Not sure how many “town halls” operate like a gated community, but this one certainly did.
Speaking of purple, these guys didn’t even bother with the line.
I knew you would. At about the time I caught them walking around the line, word came out that the show, for the rest of us, was over. Hence, these guys (and several others) tried to sneak into the event through a side door, in contrast to Russ Carnahan, who would have snuck out the back.
Speaking of Russ Carnahan, I’d like to point out the statement he made in the Post-Dispatch article about the event, and which really shows the lengths to which the Congressman, incapable of formulating a compelling narrative on his own that accords with the facts, has to rely on his talking points.
“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.”
So… which “special interest” is aligned with the SEIU?
You say, Russ Carnahan’s re-election hopes? In all seriousness, Roy Blunt needs to send Russ a bouquet of flowers or something, because the damage Russ is doing to the Carnahan brand right now is more than Roy could have dreamed to do on his own.
By the way, Kenneth Gladney, the man attacked here, is a conservative who was giving out… “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. Sounds like some of the union members weren’t as enthused about Gladney’s work later that evening as I was earlier in the day. A powerful little flag, indeed.
Also, a suggestion to Kim Bell and Leah Thorsen, Post-Dispatch writers: You need to do a better job of concealing the spin. (The inverted pyramid also does wonders for that, and for organization generally.) After talking at length about the arrests surrounding the Gladney incident, the reporters behind the P-D’s monstrosity finally gets around to the victim… with this lead in from one of the people arrested:
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.”
Really, really classy, Post-Dispatch. I’m actually surprised you let that get printed on your digital paper.
Let me show you a few of these dangerous, dangerous people.
Look, a mob cap!
If you had trouble identifying them for the mob that they were, here’s a primer for future reference.
All in all, a successful day. Did I mention Russ Carnahan should be run out of office on a rail? You can help.
Update: A friend of Gladney’s who was apparently there described the incident in the comment section of the Examiner St Louis Buzz blog. According to his report, at least three of the batterers were SEIU reps.
I was at the event. My name is David Brown. I am an atty in St. Louis. My friend, Kenneth Gladney, who is black, was passing out Don’t Tread on Me Flags and Tea Party buttons at the end of the event to Tea Party supporters and conservatives. He was then called a racial slur by two SEIU members. He was then attacked by two black males (SEIU reps) and white male, another SEIU rep., and a white woman. The punched him in the face and he fell to the ground. He was then kicked and punched by all four. One fled on foot, and three were arrested. Kenneth was taken to St. John’s Mercy Hospital to the emergency room. He has suffered numerous injuries. For more information, please contact me at PHONE NUMBER EDITED OUT. Thank you.
That fits with this letter, written to the St. Louis Tea Party.
August 7, 2009
Dear Mr. Hennessy:
I am Kenneth Gladney’s attorney. Kenneth was attacked on the evening of August 6, 2009 at Rep. Russ Carnahan’s town hall meeting in South St. Louis County. I was at the town hall meeting as well and witnessed the events leading up to the attack of Kenneth. Kenneth was approached by an SEIU representative as Kenneth was handing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags to other conservatives. The SEIU representative demanded to know why a black man was handing out these flags. The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman. The three men were clearly SEIU members, as they were wearing T-shirts with the SEIU logo.
Kenneth was beaten badly. One assailant fled on foot; three others were arrested. Kenneth was admitted to St. John’s Mercy Medical Center emergency room, where he was treated for his numerous injuries. Kenneth was merely expressing his freedom of speech by handing out the flags. In fact, he merely asked people as they exited the town hall meeting whether they would like a flag. He in no way provoked any argument or altercation, as evidenced by the fact that three assailants were arrested.
We hope that Kenneth fully recovers from his injuries; however, he is in great pain at this time. We will be pursuing legal action at our discretion. This was a truly senseless hate crime carried out by racist union thugs. Regretfully, Representative Carnahan’s statements blaming Kenneth for being a disruptive force are wholly untrue and slanderous. We would like to think that an elected official in Representative Carnahan’s position would gather accurate information before carelessly rushing to judgment.
Kenneth supports conservative ideals, although he subscribes to no particular political party. We are calling on the SEIU, Representative Carnahan, and President Obama to condemn the racist actions of these union thugs. In the days to come, we will be investigating whether these thugs are working at the behest of Representative Carnahan and how strong their alliances to various organizations–such as ACORN–may be.
We hope the St. Louis Tea Party and tea party organizations around the country will protest Representative Carnahan’s offices and also protest SEIU offices in every major city across the U.S. These Democratic strong-arm tactics must end now.
Attorney David B. Brown
Update: Uh oh.
Update: Inverted pyramid, indeed. It was the most important update to the Post-Dispatch article late last night, became middling news this morning, and is now apparently the least important part of the story. For the P-D’s next trick, watch this story, disappear!