President Donald Trump has made his opposition to peaceful protest abundantly clear at this point. At one point, around the time of major protests against one of his Supreme Court nominees, Trump even suggested that protest should be outright banned in the United States. Now, ahead of Trump’s Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, footage has emerged of a peaceful protester getting removed from the premises by police after an individual who seemed to be with the Trump campaign claimed that their “job with the campaign is to officially uninvite” the protester. The individual in question was merely sitting peacefully on the pavement outside the rally entrance and wearing a shirt reading “I Can’t Breathe.” The shirt calls attention to the final words of black Americans who were recently killed by police.
Remarkable moment on @MSNBC: A peaceful protester wearing a t-shirt that said "I Can't Breathe" is arrested outside the location of Trump's Tulsa rally. She was sitting on the ground. She said she had a ticket for the rally. She was still taken away.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 20, 2020
The peaceful protester’s name is Sheila Buck, and they shared with the Trump campaign official and cops who came to confront them that they had a ticket to the rally.
‘This is my country. This is my country. This is my city. I have tickets for this event. I have clothes on. I’m protected. What’s the problem?’
After getting told that it’s a “private event” — although in reality, it’s a rally for the re-election campaign of the president of the United States, which one might expect to be relatively open to public observation — Buck added:
‘I have tickets to your private event. I’ve been invited and have a ticket.’
The campaign official replied:
‘Yeah, well, my job with the campaign is to officially uninvite you.’
She had a ticket. She wore an "I Can't Breathe Shirt." She was removed for "trespassing". Hoping that #SheilaBuck sues Tulsa police back to the stone age.
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) June 20, 2020
As if the cops had suddenly become the hired thugs for the Trump campaign, the police officers who were on the scene subsequently grabbed Buck by the arms and dragged her away. Some initial reports from the scene suggested that Buck was getting arrested for trespassing, although again, she had a ticket to the event and was simply peacefully sitting on the pavement.
Watch footage of the incident below:
Tulsa police arrested Sheila Buck for “trespassing” at an event she had a ticket to.
— Alexis Goldstein (@alexisgoldstein) June 20, 2020
The Tulsa Police Department promptly faced steep criticism for the debacle, which was broadcast on national television.
As Harvard law Professor Laurence Tribe put it:
‘Guess what, Tulsa police? The First Amendment freedoms of speech, petition, and peaceful assembly are binding on YOU too! And yes, even when Trump is in town!!’
Guess what, Tulsa police? The First Amendment freedoms of speech, petition, and peaceful assembly are binding on YOU too! And yes, even when Trump is in town!! https://t.co/vmkuSw3WMB
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) June 20, 2020
Previously, President Trump himself had already threatened protesters who may have been considering showing up at his Tulsa rally. On Friday, he posted on Twitter:
‘Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!’
Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2020
Protest is a legally-protected right, and peaceful protest is obviously not equatable with something like “looting.” Trump’s fearmongering surrounding protests has reached a fever pitch recently. He’s even claimed that Seattle was “taken over” after protesters set up an “autonomous zone” within a single neighborhood. Seattle is a big city, and the protesters were in an area within a single neighborhood — but that didn’t stop Trump. He’s continuing his campaign against Americans.
Watch longer coverage of the Tulsa incident below: