Right-To-Work Supporters Demand Justice

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

People who support the right-to-work law are speaking out about the violence and injustice they experienced on Tuesday when alleged union protesters tore down their tents and attacked their members.

"Property destruction, assault, intimidation," said Scott Hagerstorm, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, as he described the grievances right-to-work supporters have against their union opponents. "That's why we are calling for a full investigation from the mayor of Lansing, from the county prosecutor, and the Michigan State Police."

"Americans for Prosperity" demonstrators say they were spit at, cursed at, pushed and even punched. A few were under the tent as it came down.

"50 people that are inside this tent, and we are attacked simply because we have a difference of opinion. That's not a dialogue, that's a monologue," said Randall Thompson, a victim of right-to-work protesters.

One person trapped under the tent was Clint Tarver, a well-known downtown hot-dog salesman.

"So by that time it collapsed, I found myself, not crawling on the ground but squatting to get out from under the tent, and they just trampled the tent and everything else under it including my stuff," said Tarver.

While last Thursday eight people were charged for violating the law only three people were a charged for violating the law on Tuesday.

"We were a little more tolerant. When you're trying to control a crowd of over 12,000 people you let a few more things go," said Inspector Gene Adamczyk of the Michigan State Police.

Adamczyk said that since the crowd was 30 people deep, officers were not able to accurately see what happened. Troopers responded to the tent demolition by sending 64 officers in riot gear to help control the crowd.

"Overall these are hard working Michigan men and women who had a point to make and did it in a lawful manner," said Inspector Adamczyk.

Union leaders and democrats say what happened was wrong.

"What happened to the tents and what happened to the equipment at the hot-dog vender is bad. It's not right and it shouldn't have happened," said Representative Richard Hammel the democratic House Minority Leader.

He said that's not what union protesters were there for.

"Speaking in big terms there was a whole lot of people here and not a whole lot of violence. A lot of loud people but not as much violence as you might have expected," said Hammel.

The Michigan Freedom Fund is offering a $1,000 reward to catch any person who allegedly threw punches or damaged Tarver's catering equipment.

Americans for Prosperity said it has pictures and videos of those incidents on its website.


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