First things first: Sen. Gary Peters isn’t directly involved in this story. It just happened outside his Rochester office, where people had gathered to protest against attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act, the Muslim ban and the Mexican Wall. Peters didn’t do anything wrong.
OK, that out of the way …
It’s getting crazy out there. Yesterday, an Oakland County real estate agent was so enraged by people daring to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble and seek a redress of their grievances that he straight-up tried to run them over. The Trump fan drove his damn car into a picket line, and only avoided injuring anyone because people were able to jump out of the way in time. And when confronted, he offered no explanation or apology.
See the video of the aftermath for yourself here:
Eleven complaints were filed with police, but as of now, there are no reports of charges being filed against Vito Pampalona, the raging realtor.
Heated words were exchanged between Pampalona and the protesters before Rochester police arrived, which can be seen in a video captured by (protester Bruce) Fealk, where Pampalona asks the protesters to leave the property. (Pampalona claims this happened in a parking lot he owns, but it looks for all the world to me like a public sidewalk.)
“It’s not unusual for people to say things to you and flip you off but this is the first time I’ve ever felt physically threatened (at a protest), especially by a vehicle,” Fealk said. “It feels like with Trump, they’re empowered by the way he treats people and they think they can treat people the same way.”
Also, Pampalona happens to be Peters’ landlord. And he’s apparently lawyered up already.
This is no reason to stop visibly protesting outside the offices of senators and representatives. But it’s always smart to be safe. If you are on private property, the land owner does have the right to read you the trespass act and ask you to leave. They never have the right to come at you with a car or any other deadly weapon. If they do, report it.
While you’re at it, it’s probably a good idea to download the American Civil Liberties Union’s free app ,”Mobile Justice,” which you can use to record attempts to squash your Constitutional rights, and then send the video directly to the ACLU. (Note – the First Amendment pertains to relations between the government and citizens, not land owners and other citizens. This is just as good a time as any to remind people about the app.)