Friday, October 15, 2004

Battling battery

Remember that photo of the Bush supporter in Portland forcibly planting her hand over the mouth of a Bush protester, wrenching her neck backward?

Seems she has been identified as a Tigard woman named Rosemary Kriegel. (The victim was a Portland woman named Kendra Lloyd-Knox.) According to Ruth at Democracy For Oregon, the Beaverton Valley Times reported that the Beaverton prosecutor declined to press charges:
According to the VTimes, Kriegel was there with her two kids, ages 14 and 15, "told police that she objected to Lloyd-Knox' language and reached out, putting her hand over the other woman's mouth. ...'It was a natural instinct for me to do this,' Kriegel told Beaverton Police Sgt. Michael L. Janin. 'I felt like a mom -- I was trying to silence one of my screaming kids in the supermarket.' Lloyd-Knox said the blow almost knocked her over. ....Beaverton police hustled Kriegel out of the crowd and interviewed her. Kriegel agreed to leave the rally. She was not arrested."

Quite the picture of nurturing motherhood, isn't she?

In any event, there's been a lot of speculation about the police response if the roles had been reversed, suggesting if it had been the Bush protester who had committed battery on a Bush supporter, she'd have been pepper sprayed and carted off to jail. While there are reasons to speculate that this would have been the case, there's no evidence for it, really.

However, the failure to file charges in a fairly clear-cut case of battery (defined as "the application of force to another, resulting in harmful or offensive contact") is disturbing.

The absence of a criminal prosecution, though, does not mean this case is over. I've been contacted by Lloyd-Knox's attorney, Aaron Varhola of Portland (who happens to have a blog), who informs me that he has sent Kriegel a demand letter alleging battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. This is the first step in filing a civil lawsuit against Kriegel.

Varhola tells me: "Kriegel did more than just put her hand over Lloyd-Knox's mouth; she struck Lloyd-Knox fairly hard underneath her chin with the heel of her hand." That's fairly clear, in fact, from the photo.

This is the proper way to deal with this kind of thuggery, even when it's committed by suburban homemakers. Don't respond in kind. Take them to court and sue their asses off.

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