11 July 2008

Secret Service Comments on Denver McCain Protester Removal

Responding to backlash over the removal of Denver librarian Carol Kreck from a McCain town hall event Monday at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Secret Service has put responsibility squarely on the McCain camp.

"Contrary to some recent reporting, the Secret Service had no involvement in Ms. Kreck being removed from the area," said Malcolm D. Wiley Sr., spokesman for the Secret Service. "It was not done at our request or suggestion. Any assertion to the contrary is inaccurate and inconsistent with our established policies and procedures."

And who was the man that originally approached Kreck? None other than a security guard for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts itself. According to the DCPA,

A representative of Senator John McCain's staff respectfully asked that the venue for its July 7 Town Hall Meeting, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, not allow persons to display signage within the Arts Complex . . .

. . . and the DCPA complied, with a little help from Denver's finest.

As for whether free speech was hampered on taxpayer-funded property, the Post article reports that "A previous federal appeals court decision determined that the galleria area where Kreck was standing is not necessarily a public spot and that protests can be curtailed there."

Emphasis mine. Not necessarily? So that suggests it still might be. Interesting. I'd be curious to learn a little more about that previous decision and how the law will be applied in Denver's public spaces over the coming months, especially August 25-28.