ST. CHARLES, MO — On Saturday, August 17, a small group of peaceful protestors stood on the walkway of a highway overpass with signs calling for “Obama’s Impeachment” and to “Remember Benghazi.” Their protest drew the ire of police officers, causing them to arrive en masse, block traffic, and arrest the peaceful protesters because of “traffic safety” concerns.
Highway Patrolman Jenkins demanded that the protesters move off the overpass where they could no longer be seen by highway traffic. When asked for a compromise, Jenkins replied, “No, we’re just going to have you guys exit the overpass.” At no time were the protestors violent, belligerent or even rude to the officers.
When the patriots remind the officers that the first amendment affords them the right to peaceably assemble, another officer stepped forward and said, “You can come with me.”
When the cameraman asked, “What gives you the authority to order me around on a public sidewalk?” the officer responded, “Do you recognize that I’m a peace officer? I asked you and told you that you need to leave.”
Another protestor asks what law was being broken, and the officer snaps back with “Do you want to go to jail?” You can clearly hear one protestor say that this is “tyranny”. The officer immediately moves to arrest him by putting him into a headlock and bringing him to the ground, while the cameraman asks if the force is necessary since he’s not resisting.
It is interesting to note that early on in the video, when the protestors ask the officers what law he would cite to arrest them should they fail to leave, Patrolman Jenkins responds with “I haven’t cited any law, I haven’t said I was going to arrest you have I?” At no time did any of the officers cite a law or ordinance that prohibited them from protesting on the overpass, even after handcuffing two of the protestors.
The two men, Mark S. Messmer and Jimmy “Duane” Weed, were arrested for failure to obey an order from an officer and resisting arrest. They spent 24 hours in the St. Charles County Jail. Although the patrol department wants them charged, prosecutors have yet to decide.
The situation only escalated to arrest because the protestors were asking the police questions and not just doing as they were told. As Americans we are each afforded rights, they reminded the officers of those rights. A reasonable person would conclude that in order to be arrested, one has to break the law. If the police can’t even tell you which law is being broken, how are they able to arrest you for not listening to them?
The full encounter can be viewed below:
Contact the St. Charles Police Department and Prosecutor to tell them what you think of the officer’s actions.
City of St. Charles Police Department (636) 949-3300
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St. Charles County Prosecutor (636) 949-7355