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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

An Open Letter to Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Vincent C. Gray

November 5, 2011

Mayor Vincent C. Gray
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 316
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mayor Gray,

Yesterday and today, Americans For Prosperity, held its annual Defending the American Dream Summit, in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Convention Center. I have been to Washington, D.C. on many occasions in 65 years especially during my 22 years in the military. In the past, I have enjoyed my visits and felt safe. However, on this trip, I must ask what is going on in your city with services to protect individuals including obviously myself?

Having served in the defense of my country, I value the exercise of free speech and all other God given rights of individuals as long as they do not infringe on my rights including my right not to be "falsely imprisoned" by others. Last night, outside of your convention center, there was a group calling itself OccupyDC. They were physically and verbally protesting across the street from our meeting. Initially, they acted civilly; but later members of their group choose to invade our proceeding. Then later a majority of their numbers  choose to physically restrain our freedom to come and to go from the convention center.

While not relevant to my expectations for actions by you or your agencies, it is interesting that event attendees paid for travel, hotel accommodations and for the actual event at the Convention Center thus aiding your economy. We were lawfully advocating for the rights and liberties for all individuals including those assembled across the street. If the protesters had not been co-opted by the agenda of others, we could have shared our agreement with them regarding the massive Federal bailouts of big banks, Wall-Street, and certain corporations. We could have agreed on stopping federal programs that are driving  jobs overseas and thus denying these jobs to Americans.  We could have agreed  on stopping the government programs and agendas that are driving up the cost of education and forcing massive debt on students.  Unfortunately, the OccupyDC members missed a great opportunity when they flagrantly flaunted their words against large numbers of community leaders including many grandparents from across the nation who attended this event to discuss actions to advance the prosperity of future generations including the young protesters.

Returning your area of responsibility, several of the "OccupyDC" individuals invaded our functions and disrupted our events inside of the Washington Convention Center. Then they blocked traffic outside of the convention center and finally aggressively and physically restrained the free movement of people wishing to leave the Convention Center.

Sources revealed that 911 was called several times.  The people who called allegedly were told by the 911 operators that the problem was not theirs to handle or some similar responses and there were even hang-ups on some calls. As Mayor, you are responsible for the protection of people living in and visiting your city. I am asking you to review the 9-11 calls regarding this situations at and surrounding the Washington Convention Center last night. It seems appropriate for you to determine for future safety the appropriateness or lack thereof of any responses by the 9-11 operators.  I would be glad to publish your findings and response.

A major concern is that when I and others tried to depart the Washington Convention Center, the "OccupyDC" members physically blocked the outside of the exit doors with their bodies and would not us depart the Convention Center. At the recommendation of convention internal security, I and several others, including three women from Virginia, went to another set of exit doors on another side of the convention center. Many others were doing likewise. However, these exits were also by the protesters. While police were present in patrol cars on our side of the building, unlike the police on the front doors, none of these police would assist us.

I asked protesters repeatedly to be allowed to leave and even tried to explain to the protesters that they had crossed the line of falsely imprisoning us (as defined at the end of this letter). They continued to block our exits with their bodies and refused to allow us to leave even after the Convention Security insisted that they remove themselves from the doors to allow us to leave. The protesters repeatedly refused.

Most disappointingly, the Washington, D.C. police were outside of the building in their cars observing our situation but they would not assist us. When people sought to leave via doors in another wing of the convention center across the court yard from our doors, the ranks of OccupyDC became confused for a couple minutes as they several rushed to block the other exit doors with their bodies and they mistakenly left one of our doors unblocked. I slipped out with three ladies before they blocked these doors again. Other than shouting, the protesters did not physically assault us.

It was extremely disappointing that your city appeared unprepared. While some police officers were overloaded with responsibility, others on the scene remained in their cars and would not aid us. Maybe there was a good reason they did not but to us - sure would like to know what it was. 

For other readers of this letter and for you review, I have identified below the legal definition of false imprisonment.

In closing, as with any responsible city, the buck stops with the Mayor. Therefore as the Mayor, I would appreciate your review of the 911 responses and the non-response of certain on-site police to assist us. I would be remiss in not thanking those police who did their job at the main entrance or the convention center.

Dr. Bill Smith (Arkansas)
Editor, ARRA News Service

According to US Legal:
"False imprisonment" is the unlawful restraint of a person without consent or legal justification. False imprisonment can be committed by words, acts, or by both[i]. The common law tort of false imprisonment is defined as an unlawful restraint of an individual’s personal liberty or freedom of movement[ii]. In order to constitute the wrong it is not necessary that the individual be actually confined or assaulted[iii].

It is to be noted that, there is no necessity in a false imprisonment case to prove that a person used physical violence or laid hands on another person. It is sufficient to show that at any time or place the person in any manner deprived another person of his/her liberty without sufficient legal authority[iv]. . . .

The principal element of damages in an action for false imprisonment is the loss of freedom. Sometimes, a court also takes into account the fear and nervousness suffered as a result of the detention[x]. The tort of false imprisonment involves an unlawful restraint on freedom of movement or personal liberty. Therefore, two essential elements to constitute false imprisonment are[xi]:
  • Detention or restraint against a person’s will
  • Unlawfulness of the detention or restraint.
. . . All persons who personally participate or cause an unlawful detention are held to be liable. Similarly, persons other than those who actually cause an imprisonment may be held jointly liable with others, as instigators or participants. . . .

[i] Dietz v. Finlay Fine Jewelry Corp., 754 N.E.2d 958 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001).
[ii] Pechulis v. City of Chicago, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11856 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 7, 1997).
[iii] Whitman v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co., 85 Kan. 150 (Kan. 1911).
[iv] Pechulis v. City of Chicago, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11856 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 7, 1997). . . .
[x] Pitts v. State, 51 Ill. Ct. Cl. 29 (Ill. Ct. Cl. 1999).
[xi] Ette v. Linn-Mar Cmty. Sch. Dist., 656 N.W.2d 62 (Iowa 2002). . . .

Tags: Americans for Prosperity, occupy dc, occupydc, Occupy Wall Street, false imprisonment, Washington, D.C. protesters, Vincent Gray To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 3:01 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Joe LeBlanc said...

A good letter Bill.

Anonymous Bob said...

Geeeezzzeee. What an ordeal. Glad you all were not hurt. !!! What a bunch of crap.

What's the Mayors e-mail??

Blogger Bill Smith said...

This Mayor doesn't really care - see the following article where he was arrested in April 2011 for protesting at the US Capitol
Vince Gray, ,was arrested while protesting Congress’ budget agreement. Gray, city council members and more than 200 protesters blocked Constitution Avenue and diverted police resources, shouting, “Free D.C.” and “We can’t take it no more,” ...

The email for the Executive Office of the Mayor on their website is


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