Only a day after the Meyer video, a new video shows Rev. Lennox Yearwood being thrown to the ground and arrested by Capitol Hill police outside of a hearing room. The incident occurred September 10th. For a video of the incident, click here. The video of the incident shows little beyond verbal resistance. It is particularly alarming to see that Capitol Hill police are charging him with assaulting an officer. No such assault appears on the tape. Historically, police has treated any contact as an assault — which is an abuse of this category of offense. It is true that an assault in torts is any unconsented offensive or harmful touching. However, criminal assault should represent more than a casual bumping, as here. Capitol police have become more aggressive in stopping protesters — a move that is clearly supported by both democratic and republican members.
Only recently, Elena Sassower — a New York-based advocate for judicial accountability — was found guilty of disrupting Congresss for standing up to demand to be heard in a May 2003 confirmation hearing for Richard Wesley, who was being considered for the 2nd Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The Capitol Police appear to be engaging in a form of prior restraint in some cases by barring some individuals. They also are selective in who that charge. Right to life advocates or D.C. vote advocates are less likely to be charged than other individuals. I have testified in hearings during outbursts, but there is not response. Such discrimination has little place in our system but it is particularly obnoxious in the very symbol of the democratic process.