They haven’t forgotten the events that transpired 48 hours earlier. Now they want justice. And an explanation.
A determined gaggle of grassroots activists, self-described “innocent bystanders” and two coalition groups assembled Thursday at the state capitol building in Lansing, Mich., to denounce “the endangerment, assault, and trampling of their first amendment rights by union protestors ” at noon on Tuesday.
According to multiple press reports, protesters destroyed a tent on the capitol grounds belonging to Americans for Prosperity, a free enterprise group that supports right-to-work laws.
At the time, the first right-to-work bill was being passed inside the Michigan state House, inciting rage among the 12,500 pro-union protestors outside. They shouted. They beat drums. Some were reported to be armed with knives. The tent came down, also damaging the equipment of Clint Tarver, a local hot dog vendor and “innocent bystander” who was there to supply lunch.
About 60 Michigan state troopers restored order, but made no arrests.
“This goes beyond politics and even the issue of right-to-work,” said Scott Hagerstrom, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Michigan. “It wasn’t our tent. It was our first amendment rights that were trampled on by a mob of angry union protestors. We are calling on union leaders, Mayor Virg Bernero, and others to condemn this sort of violence and intimidation.”
The Michigan Freedom Fund has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the attackers, and are particularly protective of Mr. Tarver.
“Clint Tarver is a Lansing institution, a hardworking businessman and whether you are a Republican or Democrat, one of the kindest, most selfless individuals you will ever meet,” said Greg McNeilly, president of the organization. “The union thugs who destroyed Clint’s hot dog business while shouting racial slurs must be held accountable.”
Meanwhile, a private online fund-raising effort to help the businessman has revealed unexpected generosity. The “I Support Clint” outreach intended to raise $5,000. In 24 hours, the effort has brought in $30,000 from about 1,300 donors.
“Please do not make this a political issue. This is not about politics, this is about supporting Clint. Thank you for respecting that,” organizer Lorilea Susanne advised potential donors, noting that Mr. Taver’s wife Linda reports that he is “absolutely overwhelmed” by the support.