UPDATED-VIDEO: Radio host Nicole Sandler Arrested at Rep. Allen West's Town Hall Meeting; "I was maced!"


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:

Oh, but there's more. Raw Story posted a link to a copy of the probable cause document for Nicole's arrest:

Um, "pushing me several times" doesn't quite match up with the video documentation... sir.

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.

Via the Palm Beach Post:

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.

The Brad Blog has more details.

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.

UPDATE: John Amato

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 12x6 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.

  • It's all too evident that Rep. West was attempting to make the "town meeting" a one-sided PR event, filtering the questions to keep any potential embarrassments from being aired. I applaud Nicole Sandler for refusing to sit quietly through such nonsense.

  • She did not trespass. Wow. Have you talked to her? I have.

  • Winston775

    she has no right to trespass after being told to leave by an officer. she deserved her arrest. then even after being arrested she was non compliant and got maced into compliance. she apparently thinks she is above the law and found out she wasnt.

  • Mellow2012

    I agree with you. Amazing how other's read what they want. If your asked to leave and you don't they will use what ever force required. Wonder what all these people would do if someone was screaming at them. Tell them to please leave and if they didn't, what next beg. As for her behavior, you don't tell deputies what you want, YOU DO AS YOUR TOLD.

  • MEllow2012

    Cenk. How stupid do you think we are. If the Congressman was a democrat Sandler would be consisdered a racist. Sandler what part of when your in jail don't you understand. You loose some of your rights. If I was the deputy I would have put you in restraints and added charges. Next time your in jail do as your told. Lets see, now you said if this country accepts the Republican plan than people will profit. I guess you open your big stupid mouth for nothing Cenk. Your a sick puppy. People invest time and a lot of money to become doctors and do research. Doctors in a lot of countries come here to study and practice. It's called a brain drain for those countries that loose brillent people. It's because were the best stupid. Cenk you laugh and you grin just like the facist and communist. Wonder why your family left Turkey. Now you are doing your best to make us like those other countries. Go back. And be happy. Oh and don't forget to pay more taxes. You must be rich. Sure you wouldn't make a fool of yourself for nothing.

  • Without justification, there is no reason why I should, but my honest reaction is that I would be to hand it over whilst asking, "Is there a problem officer?".

    adj -ənt
    : refusing or neglecting to obey

    verb ō-ˈbā, ə-
    obeyed obey·ing
    transitive verb
    1: to follow the commands or guidance of
    2: to conform to or comply with

  • Anonymous

    learned any new goose steps today, Stevie?

  • Anonymous

    learned any new goose steps today, Stevie?

  • Anonymous

    GOP= The GOOSE STEP PARTY of today.

  • "DON"T TOUCH ME!!" I'm thinking "Lady, the last thing that officer wants to do is touch you." With a baton maybe... too bad she wasn't tazed...

  • Whoever tried to flag my comment as Spam? Um, I moderate comments. Ain't gonna happen.

  • This is less about that than how West created a situation by using no mics,
    making audience members scream, then calling them "hecklers' and creating
    the situation.

    I wonder how you would have responded if you were female, Steven, and
    manhandled for asking a question.

  • Steven

    She was being escorted out of the building when she became belligerent and combative. *She* escalated the situation. If she would have continued to leave the building in an orderly fashion instead of looking for her photo op she would not have been arrested.

  • farma

    She says she was maced . Not enough apparently. Her mouth is still moving . Get that woman a burka please! It is nauseating just looking at her!

  • Answer one question for me. Is it disobedient if you do not hand over your license/ID to a police officer if they just ask for it? There's no arrest, and there's no witness statement to a crime or incident you're making. The police officer just asks for it and you say no, is it disobedient to not hand it over?

    And if I were you I would slowly ponder and study the answer for this, because it will show your true knowledge on how the Constitution and your rights work in the USA and not Wales.

  • Perplexed

    Are we watching the same video? There is quite a big difference between asking a question during the open forum portion of a town hall meeting and being disruptive. When exactly was she maced? After she arrived at the police station? Her messianic complex is staggering.

  • Anonymous

    I have been manhandled by cops in situations where it was totally unnecessary! They do it as a way of flexing their muscles and abusing their power, not because a 110 lb unarmed woman is somehow a threat to the social order. In my case, I was jogging past a crowded nightclub and a pig literally grabbed me and THREW me off the sidewalk. The uniform and the badge means they can indulge in behavior that would gwet a non-cop arrested in a New York minute.

  • Anonymous

    The only "freedom" truly loved by the wingnuts is the freedom to exploit others and turn a profit.

  • Anonymous

    West is pretty tough, when it comes to abusing helpless, Iraqi prisoners. He just doesn't have the guts, or the brains to answer, tough questions. He's like a lot of these tough talking conservatives, he can dish it out, but he can't take it.

  • Politicocrits

    How many people were arrested for disrupting the town hall meetings about health care? You saw the videos. Are you telling me she was worse? Nazis.

  • She didn't refuse, she asked. Good grief, read the post.

  • Malcolm

    Where does it say that the law doesn't apply to liberal Icons? If she refused to enter her cell when instructed, she deserved to get mace. The same rules apply to the elite as they do to the average joe.

  • Tea Party people claim to love freedom, yet can't tolerate free speech.

  • Tea Party people claim to love freedom, yet can't stand free speech - especially when they have no answers to the questions.

  • So strange that our freedom of speech is violated when a Liberal stands up, you did not see that during the town hall meetings that took place when health care reform was being introduced. This Congressman is nuts. This so wrong what happened to Nicole Sanders.

  • Anonymous

    Trust me...the cops in FL are NOT the good guys. Worst police state I've ever lived in; many are corrupt, and they routinely hassle people for nothing, especially teenagers. My kid & his friends were frisked just for sitting at a picnic table in the park in our OWN development! He was 12.

  • Anonymous

    Just like Sharpe James in NJ. Ask Cory Booker what the police in NJ did in James' name to people who supported Booker's campaign opposing James for Mayor.

  • Anonymous


  • ihatejewkikes

    They should hang the Jew bitch from the rafters. All of you libtards should be shot. You ARE the enemy.

  • So in other words you want to be a citizen of a country in which the US Representatives are answerable to all their constituents, but if it's the wrong type of question it's okay that they be told to leave? How was your position when those same constituents were showing up with weapons to ask questions of their representatives. You didn't come here from a country that was a dictatorship did you?

    Not only as a police officer and an Army veteran your reasoning is illogical.

    1. It was not a fundraiser, it was a place to meet with the US Representative of that area. Regardless of where it was at, he declared it to be an OPEN PUBLIC FORUM. If it was a private area what were POLICE doing there acting as security? Police do not have any jurisdiction on private property unless it was made to be a PUBLIC event or hired when he was off-duty.

  • SoapBox

    Allen West
    "These townhall hecklers will continue to be removed if they try and cause problems. They can try all they want- they will lose everytime"

    YUP! Just what I posted earlier...they will use the police to silence questioning voices that don't agree with them.

    Talk about your BIG government and police state!

    Facism anyone?!?

  • I am allowing this comment to stay up. It wasn't uncivil, there was no name-calling.

  • I commend Nichole Sandler for standing up and taking part. She asked legimate questions, Lord only knows that you need to shout out or you won't get notice. How cowardly of West to arrest her, because of her free speech. Such a disgusting man. He needs to be voted out STAT!

  • HarborGuy

    ...just plain creepy.

    I know this might ruffle some feathers but...in my mind, I've been taught to respect and obey our police. They are the good guys (and gals), here to help us the citizens against the crooks and criminals.

    BUT...it's not what I see or hear about. Cops on the take...cops that mace citizens that are within their rights...and in my area, just try and find a cop. Over the years, we've tried and tried to get action on gangs, drugs, homeless...nada. The standard response...we can't do anything.

    So what exactly can they do? They don't seem to be helping "us" but they sure do get perks and benes and overtime...I'm just a bit frustrated.

    And then there they are to arrest Nicole...for speaking out to this totally CRAZY bastard that thinks the he should be dictating to our country...seems not correct.

  • The meeting wasn't a town hall meeting, because where free speech and the US Constitution should prevail, but don't. Allen West is truly a militaristic right-wing nut-job, and those who were there were there for more right-wing indoctrination. These are the un and under-educated, full of hate for a system they supposed tout. These are the same people who wave the Constitution at you at every perceived wrong done by this administration, yet are totally clueless about what is really in it. These are the people, or should I say sheeple who follow blindly, without question their right-wing masters. Listen to them cheering when West talks about his integrity and character. He's a character alright, but a character who should be involuntarily admitted to a state hospital for the criminally insane. He'd fit right in there, and he'd be a hit with the other patients, particularly his stories about having a higher government intelligent clearance then the President. West is on sick puppy, as are his flock of westdroids.
    These crazies must be stopped as they are truly making the USA the laughing stock of the world.
    Thanks for you hard work, and send Nicole my best. Freedoms aren't free, particularly with this country's RWNJ. Do as I say, not as I do is their motto, amongst many other.

  • Anonymous

    They've begun to realize that they haven't hoodwinked all of the voters, so they're falling back on Bush 43-era tactics.

    Town hall meetings for Republicans will be for loyalists only, and the loyalists will disrupt and infiltrate Democratic politicians' town halls and rallies.

  • Anonymous

    Cops get nasty when you ask questions. All they want from you is immediate compliance with their orders. They are not accustomed to people like Nicole who know their rights and insist upon having them respected. 'Resisting arrest' is always their excuse for manhandling the innocent.

  • SoapBox

    ...I'm cross posting this to Think Progress and Democratic Underground, to get the word out.

    (opps...fyi Laffy/Paddy...you might see my aka for other Disqus sites...HarborGuy and SoapBox...same 😉

  • This reminds me of Germany n the Gestapo n Now it's an African (R) as the Leader of the Secret State Police? Wht is up with this guy West?

  • Nope. It was trumped up. This was uncalled for.

  • It sounded like a question to me. Amazing. This was a group think, not a town hall meeting. Pathetic showing.

  • Yes she did, she was arrested as she was leaving. You don't get to make up your own facts. While leaving he touched her, and she told him to get her hands off of her, any reasonable person does not like to be touched, especially when you're already cooperating and leaving. He just didn't like her answers to the questions, and arrested her when she called him out for touching her.

  • AZalan

    Sadly, not surprised by this. The tea baggers, supposedly the "get govinment outta my bizness" people, get all pro-government arrest and detain when they're confronted on their lies.

  • Anon

    Didn't sound like she was asking a question to me. Sounded like she was yelling out from the audience as the congressman was answering SOMEONE ELSE'S question. Uber-Lib should have been arrested.

  • That's called a "town hall" where, in 2009, tea baggers wore guns and
    shouted down anyone they disagreed with. I guess they're all "bitches" too,
    huh Skippy?

  • The yelling that goes on here, by both the hecklers and the audience, is uncouth and undignified. And both sides are responsible for people thinking that its OK to act obnoxiously towards those of the opposing viewpoint.

    When I was going through the application processing for Citizenship, I actually chuckled to myself when I read the list responsibilities of a Citizen is to "[r]espect the... beliefs and opinions of others", knowing how the opposite seems true at most all political meetings and rallies.

    As for Ms. Sandler's arrest: she was asked to leave, (i.e. warned), she didn't, (i.e. trespassing), she was arrested and charged with "Trespassing after warning".

  • This is such crap. Glad they have this documented. So according to West, his fan club and his goons....expecting an actual real town hall where citizens can ask questions is "being disruptive." West didn't have a town hall. He had a fan club meeting. Disgusting. We love you, Nicole.

  • Libertarian

    The Bitch should have been arrested. She was yelling and screaming in a public form.

  • HarborGuy

    Yup! And her arrest will not be the last.

    The RushThugs and T.HaterBaggers do NOT like being questioned, no matter how insane, crazy or detrimental their fantasy policies are for America.

    They will simply have people arrested. And, if they were in total and complete control, they can always resort to shipping people off to Gitmo.