Lake Calhoun, MN- For months Benswann.com has reported on the uphill battle Libertarian candidates face when trying to obtain ballot access, including Ohio Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl being kicked off the ballot three times in this election cycle or Florida Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie being arrested for driving without a license only a week after he was invited to take part in the states one gubernatorial debate.
But it is Minnesota Gubernatorial candidate Chris Holbrook who may go down as facing the most outlandish attack on his attempt to get onto the ballot.
Holbrook was arrested Thursday afternoon at Lake Calhoun while gathering signatures to gain ballot access.
According to the Minnesota Libertarian Party, Candidates of minor political parties in Minnesota need to gather 2000 signatures during a two week period that ends June 3rd to be listed on the ballot for state-wide races. That was what Holbrook was attempting to do when he was approached by five local park police officers.
"We were sitting in the parking lot of the park and the five volunteers who were with me were starting to sort our literature. A park police officer came over to us and asked what we were doing. I told them that we were going to gather petition signatures and he said 'You can't do that here.' We know that we can we are legally allowed." says Holbrook.
Because Holbrook and the LP volunteers were aware of the law, they explained their right to be at the park. Within 10 minutes another four officers were on the scene. Holbrook and those with him began recording the confrontation with police.
"The officers asked for my ID which I refused because I had committed no crime. He ordered that we stop filming him with our cell phone cameras which he said was illegal. He then grabbed me, twisted my arm and smashed me against his vehicle."
Holbrook says that his shoulder was wrenched and injured and the handcuffs actually cut through the skin and Holbrook's arm causing it to begin bleeding.
Ultimately, the arresting officer charged Holbrook for selling and marketing in a public space without a permit.
That of course, was an inaccurate charge. Non-commercial activity is permitted and petition gathering falls under that heading. Petitioning is not considered advertising and is a protected activity under Minnesota and Minneapolis ordinances.
PB2-15 – Use of Parks, Parkways, and Waters for Financial Gain (petitioning is a non-commercial
PB 2-36 – Administrative offense only, not an arrestable offense
Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 13, Chapter 332.20
What's more, by Thursday evening, the charge against Holbrook had already been dropped as he received an apologetic call from the Park Police Chief. In addition, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board apologized. Parks statement via Chris Steller:
As for Holbrook, he says that rather than receiving a call from the chief, he wants to know why the officer who "assaulted him" wasn't making the call. He hasn't been given an answer. Asked why he feels he was targeted, Holbrook's answer is fairly simple,
"When you see five guys wearing yellow T-shirts that say 'Question Authority', the authorities respond to that."