Posted July 11, 2008 | 08:57 PM (EST)
Greetings from the little old librarian.
It’s been quite a week for me, McCain, the police and the Secret Service. While I may write more later, there are a couple issues I would like to address now — but first, an excerpt from today’s Denver Post story by Felisa Cardona:
It was Sen. John McCain’s staff who asked security at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to remove people holding protest signs at the venue — not U.S. Secret Service agents, who were not involved in Carol Kreck’s ouster from the galleria.
A video of the incident circulating widely on the Internet shows a DCPA security guard saying that he was told by the Secret Service to remove Kreck, who was holding a paper sign that said “McCain = Bush.”
But Thursday, after two days of being vilified by bloggers, letter writers and others, the Secret Service emphatically denied involvement. […]
“A representative of Senator John McCain’s staff respectfully asked that the venue for its July 7 Town Hall Meeting, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, not allow persons to display signage within the Arts Complex,” DCPA officials said in a statement.
DCPA spokeswoman Suzanne Blandon said the guard who told Kreck to leave was “simply mistaken” in identifying the Secret Service as the agency that wanted her to leave. Blandon said the guard did not intend to use the Secret Service as leverage and did not mean to mislead anyone.
“He is not a trained speaker in any way,” she said. “It was the height of the moment, a situation not typical of that complex. He was simply trying to uphold the policy as he understood it to be.”
Because it is without attribution, the lede in Cardona’s story reads like she took the word of the DCPA and the Secret Service for gospel, which might not have been such a good idea.
Where is the statement from McCain’s staff in this story? And why did it take the Secret Service two days to claim they had nothing to do with my ouster?
Also, the part about the security guard had me smiling. The DCPA’s Suzanne Blandon seems to be saying that because he is not “a trained speaker,” and because it was “the height of the moment,” the words “Secret Service” just popped out of his mouth. Huh.
The Secret Service claims what happened in the courtyard would be “inconsistent with our established policies and procedures.” But the Secret Service has been hit several times with lawsuits alleging violations of First Amendment rights when citizens expressed opposition to administration policies. Locally, Denver attorney David Lane is suing them for a violation of Steven Howards’ First and Fourth Amendment rights. Howards approached Dick Cheney in a Beaver Creek mall and told the vice president his policies in the Middle East were reprehensible. He was arrested; charges were dropped.
(As the New York Times reported, that issue devolved into “Secret Service agents — under oath in court depositions — accusing one another of unethical and perhaps even illegal conduct in the handling of Mr. Howards’s arrest and the official accounting of it.”)
Many of you have been inquiring about the status of legal proceedings. Colorado ACLU has deputized two attorneys to handle my case: criminal defense lawyer Pete Hedeen will take care of the trespassing charge. I will not pay a fine, I will not accept diversion. That leaves two options: dropped charges, or going to trial. After that is resolved, David Lane will proceed civilly.
Carol Kreck is a librarian and former Denver Post reporter who lives in Colorado.
MSNBC Video of the eviction and police involvement- 6 Mins +