About Cindy’s arrest and the law she broke

(scroll down for updates)

The liberal blogs are abuzz this morning, screaming as loud as their keyboards will let them over the fact that – according to them – Cindy Sheehan was arrested last night for merely “dissenting.” First, a recap of the arrest from the AP:

Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

John Cole at Balloon Juice, no fan of Cindy Sheehan but dismayed all the same at the idea of someone being arrested for merely wearing a T-shirt, posted an update written by one of his commenters as to what law Cindy Sheehan broke:

Sorry to disappoint the Bush haters, but any and all kinds of sloganeering or demonstrating is strictly forbidden in the Capitol. A few of my friends and I once tried to have take a group picture (after a rally that had a permit ended) with the building in the background and were shooed away by the Capital Police for violating the rule merely by havign signs in our possession on the steps. As that happened in 1988 (when the other party controlled the Congress), I doubt George W. Bush had anything to do with it.

This is a misdemeanor, according to Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider:

Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., was charged with demonstrating in the Capitol building, a misdemeanor, said Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.

No doubt this is exactly what she hoped would happen. Afterall, it brings attention to her ’cause.’ (just like this arrest did).

The hype over this bogus ‘controversy’ is only heightened when you have MSM sites like MSNBC posting the following poll question:

Do you agree with the decision by Capitol Police to remove activist Cindy Sheehan from the gallery at the president’s State of the Union speech because she was wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan?

Shouldn’t that have been more like “do you agree with the law that bans demonstrating in the Capitol building?” I guess it was just too much to ask for MSNBC to do a little research on the issue before posting their poll question. Contact MSNBC if you want to express your thoughts on that poll.

Last night I posted a call for people who were upset with the fact that stunt-happy Cindy Sheehan was invited to the SOTU by House Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-6th District-CA) to contact Rep. Woolsey’s office to let her know how they felt about Ms. Woolsey’s serious lack of good judgement with respect to inviting a rabid anti-war type and obvious symbol of the hate-Bush/anti-war movement to the SOTU. I see Michelle Malkin and Rob Port at Say Anything are not pleased with Rep. Woolsey, either.

I’d like to repeat my call for you to let Rep. Woolsey know how you feel. When members of Congress act irresponsibly, the citizens of this country need to do their part to keep them accountable and Rep. Woolsey is certainly no exception to that rule.

More: Jason at Generation Why? gives some background info on Rep. Woolsey. GOP and College notes differing media reports on Sheehan’s arrest.

Others blogging about this: The Jawa Report, Gateway Pundit, Oblogatory Anecdotes

Update I: Florida Rep.’s Wife Says She Was Ejected From State Of Union:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, told a newspaper that she was ejected during the State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt that says, “Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom.”

Beverly Young told the St. Petersburg Times that she was sitting in the front row of the House gallery Tuesday night when she was approached by someone who told her she needed to leave.

She said she reluctantly agreed, but argued with several officers in an outside hallway.

In a telephone interview with the newspaper, Young said she told them her shirt wasn’t a protest but a message of support.

Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said Young wasn’t ejected from the gallery and she left on her own. She couldn’t provide additional details.

(Hat tip: Blog For All – and Cam Edwards shares some thoughts on this as well)

Also, Newslinker in the comments section here points to a National Review Corner post written by Byron York that notes a similar incident that happened during the Clinton administration.

The Capitol police were just doing their jobs last night with both Sheehan and Rep. Young’s wife in enforcing the law against demonstrating in the Capitol. But don’t expect widespread acknowledgement from the usual suspects that the law was enforced on both sides of the aisle last night (as well as in prior admins), which means that Cindy wasn’t targeted just because she was – well – Cindy Sheehan.

Update II: Newsbusters reports on how CNN got a few of their facts wrong in their story on Sheehan’s arrest.

Update III: A commenter at Patterico’s has noted what looks like the law in question regarding demonstrations in the Capitol.

Update IV: Tammy Bruce weighs in. Heh.

Update V 12:46 PM: Via the SF Chronicle, we find both Woolsey and Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont) in support of Cindy and whining about her arrest:

“It stunned me because I didn’t know in America you could be arrested for wearing a T-shirt with a slogan on it,” Woolsey said. “That’s especially so in the Capitol and in the House of Representatives, which is the people’s House.”

Woolsey said she thought the shirt Sheehan was wearing was from Veterans for Peace. Referring to the number of Americans killed in Iraq, the shirt read, “2,245 and how many more?”

Some other members were upset about Sheehan’s arrest. “I’m still trying to find out why the president’s Gestapo had to arrest Cindy Sheehan in the gallery. … It shows he still has a thin skin,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont.

Here’s Rep. Stark’s contact info, in case you are interested.

(Hat tip: Rob Port at Say Anything)

Update VI 7:35 PM: The charges against Ms. Sheehan were dropped:

Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Wednesday and apologized for ejecting her and a congressman’s wife from President Bush’s State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

“The officers made a good faith, but mistaken effort to enforce an old unwritten interpretation of the prohibitions about demonstrating in the Capitol,” Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said in a statement late Wednesday.

“The policy and procedures were too vague,” he added. “The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine.”

The extraordinary statement came a day after police removed Sheehan and Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, R-Fla., from the visitors gallery Tuesday night. Sheehan was taken away in handcuffs before Bush’s arrival at the Capitol and charged with a misdemeanor, while Young left the gallery and therefore was not arrested, Gainer said.

“Neither guest should have been confronted about the expressive T- shirts,” Gainer’s statement said.

(Thanks to Tom in the comments section for the heads up on this latest update)

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