Why were Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young ejected from the SOTU?
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The Capitol Police said in a statement that it had reviewed the incident and determined the arrest was unwarranted.
"While officers acted in a manner consistent with the rules of decorum enforced by the department in the House Gallery for years, neither Mrs. Sheehan's manner of dress or initial conduct warranted law enforcement intervention," the statement said.
Whaa? So, while the officers were doing what they were supposed to, they also weren't? Do police officers normally enforce "rules of decorum"?
It gets even more interesting:
"The policy and procedures were too vague," Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said. "The failure to adequately prepare the officers is mine."
So was it his fault, or the vague policies and procedures? I'm not getting how the revelation that the Capitol Police Force doesn't understand when it is, and is not, supposed to arrest people should ease our minds.
The Hill reports that a Capitol Police spokesperson said protesting in the gallery is prohibited. Yet, Capitol police protocol states that T-shirts and buttons with messages are permissable, and do not constitute a "protest."
It's absurd to buy the argument that the police officers, responsible for enforcing safety for the President's speech, didn't have clear orders, or, apparently, even a basic understanding of their own protocol. And if it were true, that's perhaps more disturbing.
Onnesha Roychoudhuri is an editorial fellow at AlterNet.