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Letter to politicians about veterans arrested at Hofstra Debate

Veteran trampled by police horse during debate demonstration

Veteran trampled by police horse during debate demonstration at Hofstra

(CNN coverage with video and photos is here.)

Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,

Veterans For Peace Long Island is sending the attached letter to Congresswoman McCarthy (Hofstra is in her district), both NY Senators, both Presidential Candidates, the Commissioner of Nassau Police, etc. expressing our outrage at the action of Nassau County Police on October 15. I hope you will take time to write, email, and call as well.

Free the Hempstead Fifteen!

Mac

October 17, 2008

The Honorable Carolyn McCarthy
200 Garden City Plaza
Suite 320
Garden City, NY 11530

Dear Congresswoman McCarthy,

What all patriots share, I believe, regardless of Party affiliation, is the realization that our greatness as a Nation hinges upon a respect for individual liberties as brilliantly expressed in the United States Constitution. Regrettably, as I am sure you are aware, on the evening of October 15, at approximately 7:30PM, a disgraceful incident occurred at the main gate of Hofstra University in which the Constitutional rights of Americans to assemble and speak their concerns were trampled upon, literally and figuratively, by the mounted police of Nassau County.

As a witness to this event it is my view that the situation, though boisterous, was peaceful and under control. Led by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, our group peacefully, respectfully, and non-violently, approached the front gate of Hofstra University. It was the intent that two veterans be allowed admittance to the Presidential debate to ask the Candidates two questions regarding very legitimate concerns about the war and the treatment of veterans upon their return from the battlefield. Upon being denied entry, these veterans were again willing to make great personal sacrifices for the Country they served so well, and for the survival and well being of their brothers and sisters still fighting on battlefields around the world. To bring long overdue attention to the realities of war and the urgent needs of members of our military and returning veterans, these heroes, with hands in the air, peacefully submitted to be arrested with dignity and respect. There was no, I repeat, no violence or resistance. After taking a number of veterans into custody, the horse mounted Police Officers began, with no apparent provocation, to move forward pushing the remainder of the crowd back across Hempstead Turnpike to the sidewalk area set aside for the demonstrators. Together we retreated from the Hofstra gate to what we thought was the safety of the sidewalk. From my vantage point, I saw no one struggling or resisting the police. It was at this point that at least one police officer either lost control of his horse or intentional rode up onto the designated assembly area sidewalk hitting several peaceful demonstrators. Most seriously injured was Nick Morgan, an Iraq war veteran, who was not part of the “civil disobedience” that had concluded at the Hofstra gate. Tragically, Morgan was kicked by a police horse, knocked to the ground unconscious, suffering severe lacerations and a broken cheekbone. During the melee, the police continued to arrest several other peaceful demonstrators as they fled from the threat of being trampled. In total fifteen were arrested, ten of them Iraq War Veterans.

Congresswoman, as a former Marine Corps Officer with service in Vietnam, I am appalled at both this blatant disregard of First Amendment Rights and the disgraceful manner in which these Veterans were treated by Nassau County Police Officers. In a nation in which we claim to honor those who serve, support the troops, and respect and protect the rights of all our citizens to peaceful assembly and protest, this behavior is totally unacceptable and contrary to all we hold sacred.

I respectfully ask, therefore, that this matter be investigated quickly, fairly, and completely, that those responsible for the police overreaction be held accountable, that we ensure that an incident of this nature never again occurs in Nassau County, and that all charges be dropped against the “Hempstead 15.”

Thank you for your service to America and for your anticipated efforts in ensuring that this incident be thoroughly investigated. May God bless America, our troops, and our veterans.

Best regards,

Camillo Mac Bica, Ph.D
Coordinator, Veterans For Peace Long Island
P.O. Box 3
Commack, NY 11725
631.987.3338
coordinator@vfpli.com
http://www.vfpli.com

– – –

A Nassau Green did some research on other politicians to contact:

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi’s office at (516) 571-3131

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office at (516) 571-2994 or  (516) 571-3800. Please demand that DA Rice drop all charges of the “Hempstead 15”. You can also e-mail DA Rice with a form at
www.nassauda.org and demand that she drop all charges against them.

One Response

  1. […] Newsday reports on veterans trampled at Hofstra Debate demo (For an eye-witness account and for how to support the demonstrators and veterans who were arrested, go:here.) […]

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