Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Response to Gateway Pundit's Latest Gladney Conspiracy Theory

Gateway Pundit is out with a new conspiracy theory about the Kenneth Gladney trial originating from tea partier Harris Himes. Himes, if you recall, was one of the people mentioned in the original highly-flawed police report as a "witness". However, the prosecutor decided not to use Harris Himes because he has a sketchy record as an extreme partisan, something I've previously reported about.

Himes and Hoft allege some grand conspiracy as being behind the not guilty verdict of the case. But their reasoning is unsurprisingly highly flawed.

First of all, Himes claims that the jurors ignored the fact that his wife was a witness and he criticizes the prosecution for not including him as a witness. He writes his letter as if both he and his wife saw the initial altercation:
Following this sham townhall meeting, as Sandra and I walked back to our car, she stopped to look at some buttons and flags, “Don’t Tread on Me,” etc., being sold by a nice, young black man (Kenneth Gladney), when—just as she was walking away—a large, black man in a purple tea shirt (Elston McCowan) confronted Gladney, “What kind of a son of a n_______ are you?” and slapped his hand which held the yellow flags. Then he punched Gladney in the side of his face , knocking him down. Another large, purple-tea-shirt white man (Perry Molens) attacked him from behind, jerking him to the ground. The fight continued across the sidewalk, out into the street—where the video began recording the incident, with Sandra and me and several others trying to break it up. We identified McCowan and Molens to the police, and they arrested them. As it turns out, Sandra and I were only two of three witnesses to the start of the fracas. This becomes important, since the union thugs claim that Gladney started the fight.
This sounds a lot like what was in the police report, but in fact is a blatant lie. Himes (ironically in a different interview with Hoft) previously admitted that his wife did not see how the fight started:
Well, actually my wife had stopped to look at the buttons and the flags he was handing out, and just as she turned away, that's when he was attacked by the two SEIU guys..."
In fact, his wife testified under oath that she didn't see how the fight started. So Himes is clearly misrepresenting reality, and also is ignoring the fact that his wife's testimony was irrelevant to the crucial question of how the fight started.

Harris Himes also admitted that he was away when the incident started and only turned around after he heard a "noise:"
And so I looked back because I heard a noise behind. And, it was my wife however, who could corroborate the fact that it was really a hate crime because she heard the black man who claims he's a minister also said "what's a ..... doing here" ... that was essentially what she heard. And I looked back and then I saw this guy slap Gladney...slap his hand away and start striking him but the other big white guy grabbed him and threw him down to the ground. So I came back, and I was trying to get them off Gladney, and my wife was circling to keep any of the others from jumping me. And so then we got them off and broke it up once and then they attacked him again.

Given that Harris and Sandra Himes did not see how the fight started, we are left with the following situation: other than the defendants, there was one witness for the prosecution who claimed that he saw how the fight started, and one witness for the defense who claimed that she saw how the fight started. Furthermore, Gladney's "medical records" were apparently sketchy enough that the prosecutor decided not to include them in the evidence. So one witness for each side who actually saw the fight start obviously does not create a convincing case on behalf of the prosecution.

Furthermore, there was additional information that the jury did not have that would have called into question the validity of the prosecution's witness. First, John Mirelli (spelled incorrectly by Hoft and Himes) claimed at the trial that he was not affiliated with the tea party and was "only at the town hall to see how health care reform would affect his employees." First of all, the forum was actually about aging, and would have included absolutely no information about how health care reform would have affected his employees. The claim that it was a town hall on health care reform was the exclusively tea party spin on the event. But more importantly, Mirelli is on video earlier in the day having to be held back from an altercation with an SEIU member. He's also on plenty of other videos from that day getting into arguments with Carnahan supporters. And if that's not enough, consider the fact that Mirelli was seen at the beginning of the video apparently leaning protectively over Elston McCowan while Gladney is in an attacking posture. Wouldn't it be a little strange for Mirelli to be protecting McCowan if McCowan had just gotten done pummelling Gladney? It was only after Molens pulled Gladney backwards that Mirelli started screaming "you guys attacked that poor man!!!" Also, in the trial, Mirelli claimed he was leaning down to help Gladney, which is completely inconsistent with the above photo.

Himes and Hoft also made a big deal about the fact that this was the first case the prosecutor had ever tried. From being at the trial, I think the prosecutor actually did a pretty good job. However, there was one crucial flaw in his case: there was absolutely no compelling evidence that supported his case (and, despite what the tea party claimed, there never was).

Himes also claims that it would make no sense for Gladney to attack the two larger gentlemen McCowan and Himes. However, this is not what the defense's argument was. The claim is that McCowan and Gladney were arguing, it escalated, and Gladney eventually threw a punch at McCowan. Molens only got involved in the fight when Gladney was allegedly attacking his friend. So it's just not true that anyone claimed that Gladney "attacked two larger men." Furthermore, Gladney can be heard in the aftermath of the original video saying he's going to "beat the hell" out of McCowan, so it seems clear to me that his temper might allow him to attack people larger than he is. And finally, for the record, short muscular people can actually be pretty tough.

Finally, Himes claimed that the "news tabloid" Riverfront Times said that the jury was stacked with union members. The RFT did mention this, but it was originally from KMOX reporter Kevin Killeen. In fact, this is what Kileen said:
More than half of jury pool has union ties -- in case of two union members accused of assaulting conservative. Two have Tea Party ties.
What this means, if you're keeping track, is that even two jurors with tea party ties reached the not guilty verdict in less than an hour's worth of deliberation. A jury's decision has to be unanimous, and even two tea partiers could see how weak the evidence was for a "union thug assault."

So, it's not surprising in the slightest that the tea party would resort to conspiracy theories to explain the fact that reality just does not match up with their conspiracy theories. In fact, yesterday Hoft idiotically claimed that "NAACP thugs" were intimidating the Gladney family outside of the courtroom. I was there, and this clearly wasn't true. And if you look at Hoft's picture, you'll notice that the so-called "thugs" weren't actually staring at Gladney's family: they were staring at the crazy tea partier Jim Hoft who was taking photos of them. Furthermore, none of the people in the photo are actually part of the St. Louis NAACP. So, that should give you some idea how Hoft's "mind" works.


  1. wow, i just came across this whole sad incident. you have done a remarkable job in blogging the facts. what strikes me after reading the police report and your blog posts is that the Hines couple seem to have given false 'witness' testamony to the police from the start leading to the undeserved arrests and failing prosecution. The whole legal incident was cooked up the tea party activists by lieing to the police. their story is clearly made up from the telling details like 'leaned across the table' when there was none. i wonder if these people are habitual liars or just so crazy that their imaginations go wild when they get emotional.

  2. Hate, attack, blame, lie, deny - Liberal Fascism 101

  3. Seems like you're the guy in denial, anon. If you haven't hear, a jury of 12 found the defendants Not Guilty.