Nov. 22, 2005 – Alleging that White House employees and volunteers at a spring presidential visit to Denver removed three ticketed attendees from the crowd based on their perceived political beliefs, the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court charging the seven individuals â€“ five who are currently unidentified â€“ with unlawfully ejecting two of the three from the event. The third ejected attendee is not party to the suit.
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The suit claims that people working the Bush appearance, which focused on the presidentâ€™s now-stalled Social Security reform plan, forced two women and a man to leave after noticing that the car they arrived in bore an anti-war bumper sticker.
According to papers filed in district court yesterday, event staffers told the two, Boulder, Colorado attorney Leslie Weise and information technology worker Alex Young, that they had been "IDâ€™ed," warned them against disrupting the event and forcibly ejected them. Young and Weise arrived at the event in a car with a bumper sticker that read: "No more blood for oil."
Weise was allegedly detained, told to wait for a Secret Service agent to arrive, and then threatened by a man who arrived in a dark suit and wearing an earpiece, the suit said. Wiese and Young both believed the man to be a Secret Service agent and claim he forced them to leave after conferring with other event staffers.
In a statement announcing the suit, ACLU attorney Chris Hansen said: "The government should not be in the business of silencing Americans who are perceived to be critical of certain policy decisions. The president should be willing to be in the same room with people who might disagree with him, especially at a public, taxpayer-funded town hall."
The suit names a federal bureaucrat, Michael Casper, as the alleged faux Secret Service agent and the head of the Colorado Federation of Young Republicans, Jay Bob Klinkerman, as a co-defendant, in addition to the five John Doe defendants.
Casper acknowledged working at the event but has repeatedly denied being involved in removing the three, the Denver Post reported. Klinkerman has yet to respond to reportersâ€™ queries.