Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Democracy While Black"

Rev. in hospital after anti-war arrest

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- An anti-war minister and U.S. Air Force veteran was treated in hospital after his arrest by Capitol Hill police outside this week’s Iraq congressional hearings.

The Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Washington-based Hip-Hop Caucus, was charged with disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer after being denied entry to a House hearing room in which Gen. David Petraeus was giving evidence Monday, Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider told United Press International.

But a video of his arrest, posted on the Web site YouTube, does not seem to show any assault. Yearwood shrugs an officer’s hands off his shoulders and is immediately bundled to the floor by five or six policemen.

A spokeswoman for the Hip-Hop Caucus, Liz Havstad, told UPI that Yearwood was treated at George Washington Hospital for injuries to his ankle.

She said he had been released on his own recognizance Tuesday evening and had not had time to weigh whether to make a formal complaint about his treatment.

In a statement Wednesday, Yearwood, who was a U.S. Air Force reserve lieutenant until his honorable discharge in August, called his arrest an example of “democracy while black,” asking how he could “convince other African-Americans to come to Capitol Hill to participate in democracy, when Capitol Police will go so far as to jump me when I question my exclusion from a hearing that is open to the public?”

“We all know what 'driving while Black' is,” he concluded. “Well I'd call this 'democracy while Black.'"

Nine other protesters were arrested during the hearings, mostly for attempting to disrupt the proceedings.

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