“Jon Taylor & Free Speech in Virginia’s 7th”

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    (UPDATE: Taylor will be on Ed Shultz’s MSNBC program as the lead story tonight! – promoted by lowkell)

    Thanks to Rick Waugh grassroots supporter Jon Taylor for this statement of what happened in Louisa on Monday.

    Perhaps its time my side of this story got out on the DailyKOS, so my apologies in advance for the length of my comment.

    The morning of Monday the 25th,  I was sitting at a table in the Solid Grounds café in Louisa VA waiting for our Republican 7th district congressional representative, Eric Cantor to arrive for the first stop of his “Victory Tour”.

    According to the web site, it was an open event and an opportunity for the public to hear him speak…and presumably for them to ask questions. So I RSVP’ed his link and reserved a spot for my self and 3 other guests.

    While enjoying a cup of their coffee, with 2 other Democrats with their young children, I was asked to leave by someone who (with a clear earpiece dangling from his ear) and who appeared to be part of Cantor’s advance security team to leave.

    When I asked why, he stated that he believed that I would be “disruptive” and the owner of the café wanted me to leave.  The owner then walked up and chimed in, “I want you to leave because I think you’re here to disrupt this meeting”.

    When I asked why they thought that, the security man parroted, yet again “we believe that you will be disruptive and will have to leave”. I replied that I was sitting here peacefully, and was not being disruptive and I wished to hear Mr. Cantor speak. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this event is open to the general public?”  

    Mr. Secret Security man was also accompanied by 2 police officers, one from the County Sheriffs department, and the other a local town of Louisa officer.

    When I responded with “Let me see if I have this straight, if I refuse to leave what has been promoted as an open public event I will be arrested? Please tell me how this belief that I will disrupt your event, negates my constitutional right to confer with my congressional representative?”  

    “You do realize that you are essentially forcing me to choose between giving up my constitutional rights to meet with my representative, or being arrested?”  

    Let me restate my intent was to attend this event and if possible ask a few questions regarding Mr. Cantors positions from his own website. After recovering from the audacity of their request, giving their request some thought, I replied, “Well then it looks I am going to exercise my constitutional right be civilly disobedient.”

    The officers then put a cuff on one wrist and escorted me out the door. I went willingly and without resistance. When they put me up against my car directly in front of the café things started to go seriously south in a hurry.

    The town police officer on my right pinned my right shoulder up against the car and proceed to move my right arm in directions contrary to the laws of nature. This went on for ~10-12 seconds as I was told to “stop resisting”, to which I responded “I’m not, your really hurting me.” In that excited atmosphere, it simply was not possible to make them understand that I was physically unable to comply with their request.

    What happened after that, all I can say is that the video speaks for itself.

    Afterwards, I found myself charged with Trespassing, Resisting Arrest and Public Disturbance, and have been rocket docketed for the morning of November 4th.

    The aftermath of this is that I could potentially be looking at jail time and/or lengthy probation, which would seriously affect my ability to provide for my family. Since I have been unemployed for just over 6 months, and was planning to apply for an extension later that afternoon, a loss of even this meager sum would be catastrophic.

    After returning from jail that afternoon, and juxtaposed around what was beginning to look like a very grim future for my family, I got an unexpected phone call offering me a job, which I would start in the second week of November.

    Even with this unexpected ray of light at the end of what has been a very long and dark tunnel for my family, this most welcome news runs smack into the realization that it could all vanish again. Now anybody that knows me will tell you that I loves me some black (as in dark) humor. Not nearly as amusing when you find yourself stuck in the middle of a Kafkaesque nightmare.

    For those of us fond of esoteric references, the great sci-fi writer, Harlan Ellison wrote short story titled, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”. Frankly, all this silent screaming is exhausting, so I am respectfully asking the KOS community to use their knowledge, skills and contacts to assist me with what has evolved into a seriously frightening situation.

    My immediate need is for the services of criminal defense attorney who can represent me pro-bono or at least on a sliding scale until I can get back on my feet. If there is anybody out there willing to represent me in facing a seriously entrenched authoritarian good old boy network, man I certainly could use your help.

    Right now, it feels like the local followers of Cantor’s “young gun” crowd are about to kick my ass…again.

    • robsmithiii

      …that the arrest shouldn’t have been necessary and the question remains whether or not this can be construed as a public event.  On the other hand, whether or not it was a “public event”, if it was in a private establishment and the owner decided to rescind any sort of invitation to any member of the public invited to the event, he was certainly within his rights to do so.  Had it been me, I would have been angry, blood boiling and all, but I would have left when asked.  This man continued to ask the policemen why inside of the establishment he was asked to leave.  I doubt he would have been arrested if he had walked out after asking “why” once.  Instead, he was arrested and, by all purposes of the video footage, wasn’t going quietly.  Resisting arrest opens up all sorts of trouble.  I agree that the guy who runs the coffee shop is a GOP hooligan and couldn’t stand any chance of opposition.  Let’s hope that he goes to a Democratic rally and gets asked to leave.

      Don’t you just love being at such odds with your neighbors over politics?  It really makes life such a great journey.  I think we’d see real progress in this country if people could learn to respect differences and not be cruel about them.

    • if the coffee shop owner, one of Cantor’s goons or Cantor himself arrived at an establishment owned by a Democrat, and they got kicked out.  What would happen if there were a poster going around with pictures of these folks, and instructions to expel them immediately and call the police if they didn’t comply?

    • Roland the HTG

      Are there any lawyers from our end of the spectrum in the Cville/Fluvanna/Louisa area who would be willing to step up and provide Mr. Taylor pro bono legal defense? Unfortunately I’m still a few years removed from the ability to practice law in the Commonwealth (what with the requirement for law school and passing the bar and everything), but it seems this would be the least we could do for one of our own.