Three months after the punches were thrown, a prosecutor in St. Louis County has filed charges against six people in connection with fights outside a congressional forum on health care.
It happened outside a Russ Carnahan town hall meeting, on an August night when the national debate over health care reform was rising like a heat wave before a thunderstorm. Members of the Service Employees International Union clashed with members of the Tea Party.
Now, St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Redington has issued a total of ten charges spread out among six people.
Reached by phone after she left the office for the Thanksgiving holiday, Redington spoke from memory in general terms about the case.
Among those charged, two accused of assault in connection with the beating of Tea Party activist Kenneth Gladney. Gladney had claimed that two men wearing SEIU shirts attacked him as he sat at a table giving away tea party buttons.
Redington could not immediately provide the names of those charged, and she said she did not know whether those charged are members of SEIU.
The charges are all St. Louis County ordinance violations, which are lesser charges than a misdemeanor. If convicted, the six people face up to a year in jail and a thousand dollars fine on each count, Redington said.
Redington was asked if she was pressured after recent publicity about the lack of charges to wrap up the case. “Nobody called me and I don’t know why that was perceived to be long,” Redington said. “We have about 90 thousand charges a year. We try to get charges written up within six to eight weeks of getting a report.”
So why did this case take three months?
“Most of our charges don’t involve dozens of police officers, multiple defendants and quite a few videos to review,” she said.
Certainly a valid point, particularly because this case has been heavily scrutinized by the conservative blogosphere, which numbers quite a few attorneys among its ranks. But one has to wonder if charges would have been filed sooner if Gladney wasn’t on the “wrong side.” It is certainly revealing that Gladney, who is black, received no help whatsoever from the NAACP, the Urban League, the SPLC, Rev. Jesse Jackson, or Rev. Al Sharpton.
Gateway Pundit has a great comprehensive blog roundup on this story.