The Nicole Sandler Legal Defense Fund
By now, you’ve likely heard about my arrest for committing democracy. Silly me. I thought that when attending something billed as a “Town Hall Meeting,” constituents are allowed to ask their congressional representative questions, and engage in some exchange of ideas and opinions.
Unfortunately, Congressman Allen West doesn’t believe his constituents have a right to be heard – if their opinions aren’t in lockstep with his!
I attended an event that he and his staff called a “Town Hall Meeting” at the Calvary Church in Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday evening, April 26, 2011. (I should have taken the location, at a mega-church that isn’t even in the district, as a warning… but I went anyway, believing in the power of democracy.)
When I arrived, I was informed that all questions would have to be submitted in writing, and would be chosen and read by West staffers.
I was still hoping there would be some modicum of fairness. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We were subjected to something that was more like a political rally followed by a lecture by Mr. West than a Town Hall Meeting.
I sat patiently as he answered questions with his typical right wing talking points. When a question was asked about the future of Medicare, Mr. West spouted nonsense about how the Ryan plan would preserve Medicare for future generations. I raised my hand to ask a follow-up. Sitting in the second row, I knew he could see me, but ignored me anyway.
I said that they weren’t preserving Medicare, but attempting to privatize it. I asked how adding a profit motive would make Medicare more efficient, and then asked for the name of the insurance company that would sell a policy to a 75 year old with obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
See it for yourself from the video I shot on my flip camera:
The good “Christians” in the audience shouted me down, told me to shut up and get out. A security guard told me I’d have to leave, and a Ft. Lauderdale police officer – Sgt. William Rousseau – pulled me by the arm, and then began pushing me out of the room.
I told him I wanted his name and badge number, as he really was being overly forceful with me, he said “do what you need to do, but you have to leave.” I was leaving, but apparently not quickly enough for him, as he keep manhandling me. I told him to get his hands off of me, but he persisted. The second time I told him to get his hands off of me, he placed me under arrest. The charge: “trespassing after warning.”
This is a heavily-edited video shot by a West supporter. But it does show the moment when Sgt. Rousseau place me under arrest. The pertinent part starts at around 3:30 in this video, and clearly shows the officer placing me under arrest after I told him to take his hands off of me for the second time.
The officer lied about the circumstances surrounding my arrest on the arrest report. (Click on the image to enlarge it)
An interesting thing to note is that people at the so-called Town Hall Meeting who shouted out statements in support of West were allowed to remain. But anyone who dared to say something critical of his policies was ejected.
I will fight these charges, but legal representation is expensive. I need your help.
If you can spare a few dollars, I could really use it right now. I’ve set up a special bank account for the Nicole Sandler Legal Defense Fund. Please donate what you can, and help spread the word.
Thanks for your support!
To donate the old-fashioned way, please send whatever you can spare to
The Nicole Sandler Defense Fund
1440 Coral Ridge Drive #199
Coral Springs FL 33071-5433
Or click below to use a credit card via paypal