Violence at the Iraq War Hearing

This has all the markings of a very strange story: Rev. Lennox Yearwood Arrested at Petraeus Hearing.

I hope we get to hear more about what exactly happened; certainly the first, perhaps one-sided, report is disturbing; on the other hand, the video is less clear-cut — after being singled out for some reason and denied admission after waiting in line (could it really be for wearing a button that said “I love the people of Iraq?”) did Rev. Yearwood really lunge for the door saying “I will not be arrested”? And even so, does that justify breaking his leg?

Rev. Yearwood is the same person who recently won a stay or delay in his case against the Air Force which had tried to honorably (not dishonorably) discharge him as a chaplain; according to his supporters, his offense was preaching against the war. And indeed, when he got an opportunity to preach at Andrews Air Force Base, “the message that I preached was 'Who Would Jesus Bomb?'”—not the best way to be popular on the base, I'd imagine.

I spent some time trying to find out if there's a Senate rule about what you can wear to a committee hearing, and whether buttons are prohibited. Couldn't find anything. Links to facts most welcomed.

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3 Responses to Violence at the Iraq War Hearing

  1. PeteinDC says:

    Rev was waiting in line for hours, and in the video you can see a couple people who were behind him enter the hearing room. It is completely unclear why they chose to stop him.

    Also, the police officer behind him first makes contact by putting his hand on Rev’s shoulder, and then Rev goes down on the ground. Pretty obvious who was assaulted here — and it wasn’t a police officer.

    People wear buttons of all sorts at these hearings, but even if there was some sort of regulation would that automatically mean you should be arrested? What’s happened to this land — smells like a police state.

  2. nedu says:

    I’ve watched and listened carefully to the clip numerous times now, concentrating on the beginning. In order to pick up audio details, it helps if you put headphones on. If your headphones don’t fully cover your ears, then cup your hands over them.

    Beginning at roughly :16, the officer to the left of the subject places his hand on the subject’s left shoulder. The officer uses enough force to turn the subject. The officer removes his hand at about :21.

    At about :32, the subject is apparently given an order by one of the officers. The subject responds, “An order for what?”.

    At about :40, it appears the decision is made to arrest the subject for disorderly conduct. However, this does not appear to be the point in time when the subject is informed that he is now under arrest.

    At about :54, an officer says, “Let’s get all these people back.” Shortly afterward, the subject asks, “What are you arresting me for?” The move to clear people back from the scene of the arrest may just be precautionary, taken as the result of officer training. However, it does clearly indicate some expectation of violence.

    Following this, you can see the immediate area around the subject is cleared of bystanders, and the subject is surrounded by officers.

    The physical takedown at about 1:41 is initiated by the officer behind the subject. I do not see any indication of physical resistance or any threat by the subject prior to the officer’s placement of both hands on the subject’s shoulders and subsequent move to throw the subject to the floor.

  3. nedu says:

    After some further review of the alleged “lunging”…

    At about 1:36, the officer to the left of the subject —the one who is wearing a hat—nods his head and says, “OK.” He then turns to the officer behind the subject, and at about 1:37, makes a gesture with his right hand and forearm, saying, “Right over here.”

    Freezing a frame at 1:39, the officer behind the subject has his left hand in the vicinity of the subject’s left upper arm. It’s difficult tell if the officer is gripping the subject’s arm or suitcoat. That officer, though, has his right hand centered in the small of the subject’s back. The officer appears to be directing the subject’s motion to the left, away from the wall, and into the area that was indicated by the officer with the hat.

    A subsequent frame, also nominally at 1:39, shows that the officer behind the subject has moved his right hand to the top of the subject’s right shoulder.

    At 1:40, the officer behind the subject appears to exert downward pressure on the subject, using both his arms.

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