(Denver Post) A Golden man is suing a Secret Service agent who arrested him after he made a caustic comment to Vice President Dick Cheney on a sidewalk in Beaver Creek last June. Steven Howards, 54, a consultant to non-profit organizations, was vacationing with his family in Beaver Creek when he spotted Cheney in an outdoor mall shaking hands and posing for photos. Howards and his son walked over and told Cheney that his policies in Iraq are “reprehensible.”
Mystech: Ok, if he touched Cheney in a threatening manner why didn’t the SS tackle him then and there instead of waiting until he “returned to the spot about ten minutes later with another son”? In any case, I hope for Howards’ sake he isn’t classified as an enemy combatant. :-)
Howards said he may have touched Cheney on the elbow or shoulder, like others in the crowd.
Howards kept walking to his son’s piano lesson. He returned to the spot about ten minutes later with another son, and that’s when Secret Service agent Virgil Reichle handcuffed and arrested Howards for assaulting the vice president.
The charge was later reduced to harassment, then dismissed in Eagle County Court a month later.
Howards is suing for unlawful seizure, unlawful search and retaliation for exercising his constitutional right to free speech. The lawsuit was filed today in federal court in Denver.
Lon Garner, special agent in charge of the Secret Service in Denver, declined to comment and said Reichle would not be made available for an interview. A spokeswoman for the Secret Service in Washington did not immediately return a call. A White House spokesman referred questions to the Secret Service.
In the lawsuit, Howards claims Reichle violated his First Amendment right to free speech and his Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
“It’s such a blatant attempt to suppress a right to free speech. Such a traumatic event for my son, I couldn’t just let it pass,” Howards told the Associated Press Monday night, before the suit was filed.
Howards accused Reichle of “badgering” him about whether he assaulted or touched Cheney.
Howards said he told Reichle, “If Mr. Cheney wants to be shielded from criticism he should avoid public places. I closed by telling him, ‘If exercising my constitutionally protected rights to free speech is against the law, you should arrest me.”‘ Howards said he was assertive with Reichle but not argumentative.
The lawsuit asks for money for attorneys fees and damages that include loss of enjoyment of life.
Article courtesy of Speaks.