American peace activist Rev. Lennox Yearwood was arrested and tackled by Capitol Police for attending Gen. David Petraeus' hearing on the Iraq War. He was pulled to the side by police officers who saw a pin saying "I Love The Iraqi People" on his lapel. For this reason the police found it necessary to act fast and tackle the reverend to the ground.
"You could poke someone's eye out with that thing," said a Capitol Police officer," we felt like we needed to take decisive action against this potential terrorist."
The fall broke Rev. Yearwood's leg and he was taken to the hospital in a wheel chair, where he was charged with felony assault of a police officer. The video may show that one of the officers directed Rev. Yearwood into an ambush and that Yearwood did not assault an officer, but the authorities involved say that you need to look at the arrest through rose tinted glasses.
He was assaulting us with his words. He was asking why we pulled him out of the line when he was waiting patiently like everyone else. He is lucky that we did not taser him right then and there. That is what Jesus would have done," said Sgt. Stacy Koon.
When Rev. Yearwood was on the ground, his supporters came to his aid, yelling the slogan, "arrest Bush, not Rev." and asking the reverend if he was hurt. These protestors were arrested for what police call, "noise violations." Though many claim that their free speech rights were violated, the police claim that free speech is only granted to the "seven peaceful people" that were allowed into the hearing. Because these people were not pre-screened they were not allowed to speak their minds.
"They were yelling so loudly that all you could hear were protesters and Rev. Yearwood cries for help," said Sgt. Koon. "The hallway echoes and it got too loud, causing a real disturbance to those waiting in line. We also feared that they would drown out the general's testimony. We tired to push those inconsiderate protesters away but they kept on yelling and making a fuss. It was time for the gloves to come off and the handcuffs to come out."
The incident appears to be racially motivated considering that Rev. Yearwood was the only African American waiting in the line. The police deny the arrest was racially motivated, alluding to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and releasing a statement that says, "a threat to the Bush administration anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."