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Green Party candidate charged with trespass
July 30, 2012 - Chris Morris
Donald Hassig announced today that he has been charged with trespass for allegedly demonstrating in a public park without permission.
Hassig, who is on the Green Party line in this fall's race for New York's new 21st Congressional District, issued a lengthy statement moments ago explaining what happened. I'm posting that statement below in its entirety. I'll be checking in with town officials from Parishville to get their side of the story.
Hassig said he plans to file a "free speech violation lawsuit" against the town.
Here's what Hassig sent to the press:
During my first telephone conversation with Jerry Moore, Town of Parishville Supervisor, he said that he didn't want "any of my foolishness in his town board meetings". That was a warning signal. I have now come to know enough about Mr. Moore to validate my suspicion that he was a backward person with too much power. During the July 2012 Town Board meeting, Supervisor Moore told me that he wanted to have nothing to do with Cancer Action NY because I had written a letter to St. Lawrence County policy makers criticizing Dr. Susan Hathaway, Director of the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department for speaking falsely having stated that the World Health Organization report, "Persistent Organic Pollutants: Impact on Child Health" was not valid due to the fact that no epidemiological evidence existed that supported the conclusions of this report. Mr. Moore did not want to talk about providing St. Lawrence County residents with a warning of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure health hazard. I left the Town Board meeting and went out to the Parishville Town Park to assess the possibilities for cancer prevention educational outreach there. There were quite a number of children playing on and around the beach. This was clearly a good place for educational outreach. I spoke with two young women who held positions of authority at the park. They told me that I would need to obtain the approval of Supervisor Moore before conducting any educational outreach at the Parishville Park. I told them that Mr. Moore was not likely to give me permission to educate in the park and that I did not believe that I needed his permission considering the fact that Americans are guaranteed freedom of expression in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Later the same day, I received a call from Jeff Woods, Town of Parishville Recreation Director. He informed me that Mr. Moore was opposed to me conducting any educational activities at the Town Park. Mr. Woods went on to tell me that he had been instructed to tell me to leave and if I tried to educate any of the children at the beach on the subject of chemical exposure cancer risk he was to call the "authorities". I asked him what authorities and he said the State Police. I told him that I would be visiting the park to educate on cancer prevention.
On Monday, July 30th, 2012, I went to the Parishville Park at high noon and started educating. This involved placing a 3-fold display board on a bench at the edge of the water and dancing at the far edge of the beach. The message on my display board was this, "POPs Cause Cancer". Mr. Woods came down to where I was dancing and told me to leave. I told him that the Parishville Park was a public place in the United States of America, which meant it was a free speech place. He went back up the beach, called the "authorities" and then just stood there watching. Eventually, the New York State Police showed up. They came down across the sand to the water and I met them standing beside my message board singing Tom Petty's song "I Won't Back Down". They told me that they wanted to talk in the parking lot. I told them I wanted to talk on the beach where the kids could hear what we were talking about. They told me to leave. I said "Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out, and I won't back down." The two of them grabbed me and put the hand cuffs on tight. Under arrest again. Viva the Revolution!
The decent and reasonable police officer gave me the choice of going to Canton in the back of the police car to be handed my trespass charges or getting these papers here at the park and driving out of the park in my own vehicle. I chose the quickest route to freedom. It was nice of him to make the arrest as easy as possible for me.
I wish there were more people who would stand up and say that it is wrong for the government to continue seeking to maintain the illusion that the food supply is safe when the right thing for government to do would be to warn the public of the avoidable POPs exposure health hazard. Government should tell the people the truth: the food supply is contaminated with sufficient quantities of POPs to impose significant disease risk and exposure minimization is warranted. I hope that the children who saw what happened at the Town Park today grow up fast and become fellow revolutionaries.
I plan to file a federal free speech violation lawsuit against the Town of Parishville and the New York State Police.
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