SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 25, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake City woman’s attempt to meet with Utah’s top congressional leaders came to an abrupt halt Tuesday when she was thrown to the floor and handcuffed by Homeland Security personnel at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in downtown Salt Lake City.
Elaine Glick, of Utah Indivisible, had gathered with 30 or 40 like-minded activists in hopes of talking with Utah’s senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, who have offices in the Federal Building. Glick wanted to share concerns about actions being taken by Pres. Donald Trump’s administration.
But an apparent miscommunication about where group members could wait for a turn to visit the senators’ offices, combined with Glick’s decision to stand up to officers, left her on the floor, hands cuffed behind her back, and struggling to figure out what had gone wrong.
“We were told we could all come into the lobby to wait our turn,” Glick told Gephardt Daily. “We were in there, chatting, when a security guard appeared, and he seemed to be uneasy about what was going on.”
The officer informed those in the lobby they could not protest there.
“We commented that this was not a protest, we were waiting our turn to talk to our representatives,” Glick said. “He was stern, not willing to listen. I was at the front of the line. I said ‘I don’t understand, we were told we could come in and each have our chance to voice our opinion.’ He said that was not going to happen, and he talked to his boss and he wanted us to leave.”
Glick asked the officer to explain the protocol because the group intends to return each Tuesday. She admits she became emotional.
“I was really counting on having an opportunity to speak to my representative and let him know how I felt about what was going on in our country,” she said.
“I asked if we were going to have to come every time and be surprised. That’s when I persisted in the sense that I was let down, I was sad. I was frustrated. I said ‘I’m here because I feel strongly about this’ …. I felt I was speaking from the heart, not being antagonistic or mean. I was just feeling strongly about being there. I don’t think I was being confrontational, and neither do others who were there.”
The officer told Glick she needed to leave, and she insisted on an answer to her protocol question.
“He became agitated and overbearing. He was of large stature, and I felt a little intimidated by him,” said Glick, who is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs 120 pounds.
“I didn’t want to back away, but I wanted to hold my ground. He grabbed my arm and I ended up on the floor. I don’t remember all of it. I was in shock. He handcuffed me, and was very rough. Later, my arm was bruised and swollen.”
Glick said that was when another woman with the group, Mickey Roos, stepped forward, and said “‘I am not going to leave this lady on the floor by herself.” Roos did not back down, Glick said, “so another cop arrested her. Mickey said ‘Its going to be OK, not going to leave you, you’re not going to be alone.'”
The women were taken to an office, frisked, and interviewed on opposite sides of the room, Glick said. Her arresting officer told her she would be charged either with a misdemeanor or a felony. He then took her to talk with his superior, who explained that having large crowds inside the building posed a security threat.
Glick and Roos each were cited with failure to comply with lawful directions of law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor that came with a $280 fee.
Glick said she left the building about 90 minutes after she entered. She and Roos both feel they should fight the charges, she said.
“When I got home I had all these messages,” Glick said. “I joined a Facebook group someone suggested, and was told a defense attorney may be interested in taking our case, pro bono. I probably will not be paying this (citation) whether I go alone or with representation.”
Glick said she hopes some good will come out of sharing her story.
“I don’t want this to be about me or Mickey,” she said. “I want this to serve as a wake-up call. It feels very, very empowering to be able to do this kind of work and not be intimidated by law enforcement. I don’t think we should cower. I am more committed to work in solidarity with other groups, to promote this cause in as positive way as we can. Its’s not anti-Trump. It’s about voicing our concerns.”
Jason Lindsey and his wife, Alisa, were inside the federal building attempting to schedule a meeting with Senator Mike Lee when the incident took place. They told Gephardt Daily they were shocked and sickened at the intensity of security officer’s response.
“I was just about six paces away and I was rattled by what I saw,” Jason Lindsey told Gephardt Daily. “The woman he took down was not bullying, or brandishing threats or weapons. Even the other guards seemed surprised.”
“Things may have gotten a little boisterous, but as Americans it’s our duty to ask our leaders questions.” he said. “It’s been hours now and what I saw Tuesday has shaken me to my foundations.”
A public information office for the Dept. of Homeland Defense in Washington, D.C. told Gephardt Daily they were aware of the incident in Salt Lake City and a statement was forthcoming.