Several videos and accounts from protesters at last night’s Trump rally at Barton Coliseum have emerged today, including the video seen above, which shows a gaggle of Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputies and black-clad officers (members of the U.S. Secret Service were working the metal detectors near the doors last night in similar garb) forcibly removing a protester identified online as Nathan Fields from the building, with the altercation ending when a man in a dark suit shoves Fields into a mulch-filled planter next to the concrete steps. The man who pushed Fields is then himself pushed away by an officer in a vest marked “POLICE.” The removal of Fields from the Coliseum starts at around the 1:30 mark of the video above.
There were a half-dozen incidents in which police removed protesters from the building during the rally last night, with Trump once saying “Get ’em outta here!” as protesters were marched out, to the boos of the crowd.
Another account from last night comes via Facebook from Chad Jones, who was part of a protest in which several people, identified on Facebook by Jones as himself, Fields, Ronald Streets, Warren Jenkins and Samuel Bernard II, walked silently from the floor with their fists raised as Trump talked about building a wall on the border with Mexico and forcing the Mexican government to pay for it. Fields later posted on his blog about his ejection from the building, saying, in part:
After I was finally pushed out of the coliseum doors, a Trump ruffhouse fellow came and held me by the neck with my face in the mulch. They threw me down near a concrete mulch ditch and kept pulling my arm back as if they were going to arrest me. I tried to keep cool and just told them God loved them, as those were the only words I felt were safe to come out of my mouth. I was suprised to see armed Secret Service guys around me telling me to cut this &*^* out and to get this trash out of here…. When they finally stopped screaming that they should arrest my a*& and a state trooper told me that I better be happy they don’t arrest my blankety blank, then I told them thank you. The trooper kicked over my shoe that had fallen off and my Bobba Fett sock that also came off in the ordeal. While there wasn’t footage of the assault by the police, you can see about 8-10 guards leaving the scene. Let’s just say if I wasn’t white, this probably would have ended up different. Police brutality is real folks. And so is white privilege. Don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for those officers who protect and serve our communities and do a lot of good in communities. I do not condone any form of violence, verbal or physical to our law enforcement. But I have now witnessed first hand law enforcement that treats people who peacefully protest as if we are the scum of the earth.
This reporter also witnessed what I’d call a questionable incident involving a protester. For most of the speech, I stood around 15 to 20 feet behind David Gilson, a twenty-something who was wearing a button up shirt over a bright red t-shirt with the familiar Communist hammer and sickle emblazoned on the front. Though Gilson had been standing and chatting with two friends, seemingly not causing trouble, a uniformed Arkansas State Trooper approached in the middle of Trump’s speech, put his hand on Gilson’s shoulder, and spoke to Gilson sternly. Minutes later, Gilson and his friends briskly left the floor.
I caught up to them as they were leaving the coliseum, and asked what the Trooper had said. Gilson, who identified himself as a libertarian socialist, characterized his conversation with the Trooper thusly: “He came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder, and he said: ‘Hey, next time you’re jumping around and pointing to your shirt, you’re a Communist, and you’re going to leave.’ I just looked at him calmly and said: ‘I haven’t been jumping up and down, and I haven’t been pointing to my shirt this entire time.’ He was like: ‘I’m just letting you know what’s going to happen.’ “
For the record, I can confirm that Gilson was not noticibly jumping around or pointing at his shirt.