Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Have A Problem With Our Policies? Tell Me. Go Ahead, Make My Day

OK, the first thing we thought when we read this was is this guy an idiot? Come on, Cheney shot a guy in the face and made the guy apologize. Are you really sure you want to get all up in his grill?

A Colorado man who was arrested on harassment charges after he approached vice president Dick Cheney to denounce the war in Iraq filed a federal lawsuit accusing a Secret Service agent of civil rights violations. "I'm just glad to still be alive," said Steven Howards. "My lawsuit is an attempt to keep myself in the public eye so you'll all know if I suddenly have an unfortunate 'accident.'"

Howards, an environmental consultant who lives in Golden, Colorado, says he stepped up to the vice president to speak his mind in a public place and later found himself in handcuffs. "I remember being pushed to the ground and hearing one of the secret service agents saying 'don't shoot sir, we have him under control. Please don't shoot this one too.'"

Mr. Howards’s lawyer, David A. Lane, said Mr. Cheney might be called as a witness. "And yes, I've requested police protection," Lane said when reporters asked if he were seriously considering summoning the vice president."

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cheney referred questions on the matter to the Secret Service. "Oh, and tell that Howards guy not to make any long range plans," the spokeswoman said.

Mr. Howards, 54, said at a news conference here that he was taking his 8-year-old son to a piano lesson on June 16 at the Beaver Creek Resort about two hours west of Denver when he saw Mr. Cheney at an outdoor mall. Mr. Howards said he approached within two feet of Mr. Cheney and said in a calm voice, “I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.”

According to Mr. Howards, the vice president looked at him and said "Hope that shirt is bulletproof."

About 10 minutes later, he said, he was walking back through the area when Agent Reichle handcuffed him and said if he wanted to get out of the mall alive act like he'd been arrested.

Mr. Howards said he was released on $500 bond after about three hours in jail. A state judge dismissed the charge about three weeks later at the request of the Eagle County district attorney, Mark Hurlbert. “It was our understanding that the vice president did not want to prosecute,” Mr. Hurlbert said. "The vice presdient told me he wanted Howards all to himself," he added.

The suit joins two others — in West Virginia and another in Denver — charging that Secret Service agents or White House staff members violated the law in keeping people with opposing political views away from President Bush or Mr. Cheney. "Do these people have a death wish?" Hulbert asked.

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