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Policing Dissent

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

If I were walking down the street and saw the president, vice president, one of my representatives, senators, or any other public servant who I thought was doing a disservice to his office and country, I wouldn't hesitate to let them know. Being elected into that position gives me the right to express to them--good or bad--my opinion of their job performance. If they don't like my criticism, they can quit or make improvements.
That's basically what a Denver-area man did when he saw Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek. Steve Howards and his son walked to within a couple of feet from where Cheney was standing surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible." He then walked on, according to a lawsuit filed against a member of the Secret Service for causing him to be arrested.
That's when the trouble started for Howards. Quoting from this Rocky Mountain News article, Arrest over Cheney barb triggers lawsuit by Charlie Brennan:
Ten minutes later, according to Howards' lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had "assaulted" the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.
This is another example in a growing list of dissent being suppressed by this administration through the use of police tactics. Howards, in my opinion, is absolutely correct in alleging his arrest was in retaliation for having expressed out loud his dissatisfaction with the vice president's Iraq policies. His arrest violates both his Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure and his First Amendment protection of free speech.


Blogger Mark said...

Howards was lucky that Cheney wasn't carrying his shotgun.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Difranco said...

Thats bad Mark...LOL.

2:33 PM  

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