Yesterday, I went to get coverage of the Ron Desantis rally in Manchester, NH. I was able to get some great interviews with both lefties and conservatives outside of the DoubleTree Hotel where the event took place. However, when I sat down on a park bench near the building to look at my footage, I was warned by staff that I couldn’t come in. I asked why not, and they said it was because I had a camera. Since it was an extremely hot day, I told them I was hoping to purchase a cold drink. The staff member told me that as a paying customer that that would be permissible, so long as I didn’t film. I didn’t film— but just the same, security came to kick me out– at which point I did start filming.
That was at 3:17 PM.
My rule is to give every candidate a fair chance to say what they have to say, and respond in a kind and considerate manner until they give me a reason not to. Kicking me out of a political event for having a camera is antithetical to the first amendment and the general spirit of the political process. Accordingly— as Ron Desantis was leaving the Double Tree, I decided to protest Ron Desantis’ new abortion law with the satirical chant of “RAPISTS FOR RON.”
“RAPISTS FOR RON” is in reference to Ron’s new legislation which bans abortion past six weeks with exceptions on rape and incest at fifteen weeks. In those cases, a woman is required to present documentation of her rape.
At 8:13 PM, black SUVs began driving recklessly out of the parking lot on the Pleasant Street side of the building. A man in the passenger seat of the very last car before the police car in the rear threw a can of Red Bull at my head. I didn’t know that that’s what it was at the time, because frankly I was just stunned. The Manchester Police were a part of that motorcade and did nothing to stop the assault from taking place, and made no attempts to arrest the assailant. In fact, Manchester PD appeared to be giving the criminals an escort. The police also did not respond when I cried for help.
I immediately went to the Manchester Police station to report the crimes. Officer John Whiteman took down the report.
Afterwards, I went back to the scene of the crime to see what I had been hit with. It was a can of Red Bull. I went back to the police station to submit the Red Bull as evidence, at which point, I received an icy, if not hostile reception from Whiteman (and one other officer with him). Whiteman insisted that because I was in the road it might not be a crime. This is an utterly terrible interpretation of the law.
Even if a judge, jury or fact-finder agreed with his assertion, it is immaterial to the provable fact that an employee of Mr. Desantis intentionally threw a can of Red Bull at a citizen from a moving vehicle. Moreover, the drivers in the motorcade were clearly driving to endanger. There is no conceivable excuse for any of these actions.
If the City of Manchester is to be perceived to have any legitimacy whatsoever, it is incumbent upon officials to find the lawbreakers (who were themselves escorted by law enforcement), and hold them accountable.
Staff for Republican candidates have been engaging in violence since I began attending the NH primaries in 2015, so it’s nothing new. I was attacked by Trump staff and Manchester PD in 2015. I sued them both without a lawyer, and both of them settled. Trump for $20k. Manchester PD for $15k.
This behavior is offensive and deleterious to the fabric of the political process, and the public should know.