(image from JusticeOnline)
The audience stood to greet and applaud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she took the podium at George Washington University. But as the audience sat down again, a retired CIA analyst named Robert McGovern remained on his feet and calmly turned his back on Clinton in silent protest of her votes and policies regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rob Kall’s HuffPost article details how security handled the situation:
They grabbed me and the shock wore off. There was a real struggle. I shouted, ‘This is America.’ Then I said, ‘Who are you?’ This is a mystery to me. Who were they? The guy in the suit was the one who did the damage. He was brutal.
They took me outside, put two sets of iron handcuffs that pierced my wrists. The bleeding went all over my pants. One guy said, “I pricked my finger” like it was his blood.
I was bleeding in the car so I said ‘I think you need to put some gauze on me.’ They handed me to the DC police and they told I was being charged with disorderly conduct. I was booked, fingerprinted, mug shot taken. They put me in a little cell — must be the same size as Bradley Manning’s — about six by four feet.
It was about three hours that they held me until they let me out. I had to take a cab to the hospital where they x-ray’d me, treated me and dressed my wounds. Then the doctors told me that since this was an assault on me, I had to inform the police about who had assaulted me. A little humor helped then.
For months, McGovern stood in silence during Catholic masses to express dissent toward the church’s policy against ordaining female priests, without physical conflict. Do you think security handled the Clinton situation appropriately? What rights to expression should audience members at events addressed by political figures expect?