UPDATE: Please go to Nicole Sandler’s site for details. Here is the video that Nicole herself recorded of what actually happened, and of the questions Allen West didn’t want to hear:
UPDATE: Here is how Allen West feels: (all other updates are below… please scroll down)
My radio host and friend, Nicole Sandler, got arrested last night for attempting to follow up on unanswered questions posed by her to Allen West. When I was on her show yesterday, she announced that she would be attending the town hall meeting, and encouraged others to attend any meetings in their own towns. Video above by David Swanson.
Added: Odd how during the health care reform town hall meetings of 2009, the tea baggers could scream, overshout, carry guns, make demands, cause a ruckus, and it was considered “freedom of speech”. But if a liberal asks a question or two, she gets arrested.
During the meeting, West had responded to a question about Medicare when Nicole Sandler of Coral Springs, a former radio host on the liberal Air America network, began shouting from the audience.
Other audience members began shouting at her and a police officer led her out.
“This is supposed to be a town hall meeting. That means back-and-forth,” Sandler said as she exited.
Sandler argued with a Fort Lauderdale police officer in the lobby who told her to leave the building. After she yelled at the officer for placing his hand on her, she was arrested for “trespassing after warning” and led away in handcuffs.
Last I heard, she was being held on a municipal ordinance for $25 bail. We’ve been trying to reach her, but so far no luck. I’ll update when I hear more.
And more here.
Please consider donating here. She’ll need them for paying legal fees.
UPDATE: I’m told the ACLU could handle this for free.
I just spoke to a source close to the situation and $25.00 was already posted for her bail. She’s not out yet. Since the town hall was on private property, the police were allowed to arrest her on a trumped up charge. She was pushed by the cop to get out of the building while she was trying to leave. He arrested her for daring to ask a question from the audience. If it had been in a public building there would have been no grounds to ask her to leave. West only answered pre-approved questions. What a cowardly move by Rep. Allen West’s people.
UPDATE: Per @jodmentum, “She was released an hour ago according to Broward Sheriff’s Office. Woman on phone says media was all over it.”
UPDATE: I got through to Nicole, just now, and I am the first person she has spoken to. And I quote:
“Now I know what Bradley Manning goes through… I was maced this morning by a prison guard because when I got out of solitary, I wouldn’t go back in. They were so nasty at that jail. What happened to being presumed innocent? They treat you like animals, it’s disgusting what they do to these poor people!”
She’s eating now, because she hasn’t since yesterday. She will post on Facebook and report her experience on her show tomorrow, 10-12 a.m. Eastern on RadioOrNot.com.
CBS4 in Miami will be is reporting her story, and she was very happy with their understanding of it.
UPDATE: Nicole is on the Thom Hartmann show right now (some paraphrasing):
It wasn’t a town hall meeting, it was a presentation, a speech. They chose from cards, from which question were chosen to read. He answered with talking points. “How will you save Medicare?” for example. He gave a nonsense answer.
I asked, “How is privatizing Medicare SAVING Medicare? How does making something less efficient, more expensive save it?” I wanted to ask “Give me the name of an insurance company that would cover a 75 -year-old” with several ailments?” Audience members yelled, “Get her out!”
Reporters asked me questions while a cop manhandled me. I probably [swore] at him. He arrested me for “trespassing after warning”. That was 8:30 pm, I just got home [It is now noon PDT].
I was maced at the jail, which had nothing to do with West, of course. There were others, all women, being charged with a crime, being treated worse than animals at the pound.
I was put in solitary like Bradley Manning. They locked us in a room forgot about us. There were 4 in a tiny 12×6 room, they forgot about us, no bathroom. Left us in for over an hour, with no air circulation.
I asked, “Did you forget us?” Guard answered casually, “Yeah that happens.” I said, “You owe us an apology.” He answered sarcastically, “Oh, yeah, I’m real sorry. You want apology?” and he locked me in a tiny cell with a toilet, mattress, sink. No windows, four walls.
The door was opened, I got out, he said to get back in. I said, “Please, I’m sorry.” I have a big mouth [laughter]. Guard said, “No.” I said “Please?” and he maced me. I mean REALLY maced me, not just a spray.
West is having another meeting tonight.
Brad has more here, including her 3 hours in solitary and then getting MACED by prison guards — all hours after her $25 (twenty-five!) bond had already been posted.
UPDATE: Nicole is on the Randi Rhodes show now.
Nicole: The venue was a “monstrous cult church” not in his district. He doesn’t live in his district.
Randi: It’s a private event, private security guards were there. Big muscle guy in purple shirt who told cop to arrest people. Church had to agree ahead of time to have private security, agents authorized to arrest anyone they didn’t like, so now it’s not a town hall meeting. They put you in hand cuffs. You tell them, “I will leave,” which means she’s not trespassing anymore without warning.
N: I was walking OUT, then he put his hands all over me and decided to arrest me. I was in police car around 7:30. The event ended at 8:45, so I was cuffed in the back of the police car the entire time. Out walks West. His car parked behind police car, posing for pictures with all the Ft. Lauderdale cops. Me and my big mouth, I screamed, “Congressman! I have a question for you, please!” He ignored me. A real man would have let me go. I don’t know how this man’s brain works. … So they booked me at the Ft. Lauderdale jail, I waited for 2 hours. I went to Broward County jail, booked, bail was $25. I called my boyfriend David at 2 a.m.
You’re not innocent until proven guilty at the Broward County jail. None of the other women were treated well, treated like dirt. They lie to you. They said after I called, I could go home. They transferred me upstairs to the “real prison part”. But I was supposed to go home! No, that takes 6-8 hours after you’re processed, they later said. I was in the cell [see above liveblog]. 26 of the 30 women were sent to the magistrate, the 4 of us were left, forgotten about for about an hour. [see above for the rest, including about getting maced]. I was in solitary for 3 hours!
Randi: You get locked up for asking a question… Not one of the Christians spoke up for [you]. Hmm, no.
N: Finally, after being forgotten about in a cell used for storing mattresses, being put in solitary for asking for an apology… The door opened, so I go sit on top step, ask PLEASE … before I got sentence out, he maced me… my whole face, my eyes, my mouth… my legs are still burning. That was at 12 noon today! After being arrested at 7:30 pm.and posting bond at 2 am.
The way the people are treated at the jail!! I speak up, I can’t keep quiet, so I got maced.
R: So questioning Allen West is now a crime. His next meeting is tonight at 7 pm at an Alzheimer’s daycare center!
More details if I hear anything.