Sunday, January 24, 2010

Brian Matthews Hearing

Brian Matthews was one of the people arrested outside of the August 6th Townhall meeting for Congressman Russ Carnahan. Matthews was not involved the scuffle that was the source of right-wing conspiracy theories that Obama sent "union thugs" to beat people up, but rather was accused of "interfering with an officer" after the scuffle.

Matthews had a court hearing on Thursday, and the behavior of the guards was pretty strange. According to Reboot Congress, the Campaign for Liberty's Kelly Owens was allowed into the courtroom to watch the hearing, but only after some effort. However, Brian's friend was not allowed into the courtroom. Owens reported that there were 81 empty chairs in the room.

There are several problems with the case against Matthews that can be observed by comparing the police report to the video of the arrest.

First, Matthews is charged with "interfering with the duties of a police officer" (p. 11). However, in the video, it's clear that Matthews (dark blue shirt and long ponytail) is actually trying to lead Javonne away from the scene.

Second, the police report (p. 11) claims that "As Captain Monteleone was assisting us with crowd control a subject, later identified as Brian Matthews, walked up to him and purposely fell onto the sidewalk in front of him."   But you can see from the video (1:42) that Matthews was walking in front of the officer away from the scene when he fell.

Finally, the report claims that Matthews was "on the ground yelling that he was being beaten by the police, trying to draw attention to himself."  However, in the video you can very clearly hear Javonne speaking as she is arrested.  Matthews is right next to her.  If he was "yelling" it would have been picked up on the video.

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