What The Hell: Why Did Police Censor This Taxpayer-Funded Town Hall?

by on September 6, 2011 · 8 comments

in Civil Rights, Media

Uploaded by on Aug 23, 2011.

It is not supposed to happen in America where we value free speech and proudly revel in our history of men and women standing up and speaking to their elected representatives. But…once again, just last night (August 22, 2011), as they did in June, Congressman Steve Chabot, his staff and security team made sure that there could be no genuine human interaction or spoken question from the audience or any recorded documentation of what was said. And this occurred in a public meeting, in a public place, conducted by a public official, who while speaking to the public refused over 100 people who disagreed with him the opportunity to speak. And he had the police there to physically enforce his own private rules for public discourse.

Last night it was supposed ‘security reasons” that they again not only banned citizen speech, but the photographing and filming of the Congressman speaking as well. Chabot’s security team enlisted the help of the on-duty Cincinnati Police (car # 05313) to enforce this policy with the threat of arrest and the actual confiscation of two video cameras until the conclusion of the meeting.

Dismal exercises such as this must leave his constituents bewildered, thinking they had stumbled into an anti-democratic nightmare where authorities dictate appropriate speech in public places and seize personal property at the request of the elected officials. These policies simply cannot stand legal scrutiny nor the smell test of any citizen interested in an honest and open discussion of public policy issues that impact the lives of their families.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace September 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm

The August recess- Republican style- has been a startling contrast to those town hall meetings a few years back when health care reform was the topic du jour. Back then, tea bagger guys pledged allegiance to the NRA and strapped on their piece before railing against “death panels.”
The Republicans are now fainting and running to the door when faced with constituents asking about corporate taxes, medicare and social security. They have devised “pay to talk to your elected representative” (Paul Ryan) to keep out the contentious riff-raff. Dan West distributed a watchlist of liberal “troublemakers.” The is just run of the mill craven right wing jackassery. But Chabot has clearly gone over the edge into the illegal. There clearly needs to be legal scrutiny.


The Bearded Obecian September 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm
annagrace September 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Paul Ryan held NO public town hall meetings except for one phone in meeting. The “both sides” attend private meetings that charge for meals argument is bogus. Remember, Ryan is the guy who welcomed the health reform debate, holding 17 town hall meetings in August 2009. Now that citizens are expressing their anger at the Ryan Plan, his defense of corporate tax breaks, and willingness to throw the economy in the tank during the recent debt ceiling debate, he is not so “welcoming.” He is a bloodless coward.


Frank Gormlie September 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

This is what fascism looks like in our own country.


The Bearded Obecian September 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Please explain…Frank, you toss out that canard often when speaking about the right, without looking in the mirror at your own playbook.


Frank Gormlie September 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm

When cops start collecting and confiscating people’s cameras at a public event while filming a public politician in a public facility, as they did here, then we are witnessing another brick in the wall of fascism being built. Doing this reflects the nature and essence of a authoritarian system.


The Bearded Obecian September 8, 2011 at 10:41 am

Then you called out the President during his campaign in 2008 when they were doing the same thing? Lots of candidates do it from both sides. It’s not fascist. Fascism has become such an overused word anymore that it’s meaning has become so jaded as to become meaningless.


Gary Ghirardi September 7, 2011 at 7:10 am

This is how fascism works outside as well. Control the discourse. Privatization wars to recapture the public benefits and safety nets in other cultures by “democracy building” and the re-alignment of energy resources to investors and away from the state. Welcome Syria next. San Diego has always conducted these “public meetings” with contempt.


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