First, a hand goes up in front of the camera. Then two. Then a jacket is held up to screen the shot. A woman is heard saying “block him.”
As Dennis Gilman, a Phoenix-area independent videographer continues to record, several people surround him at the We Are America Tour and Rally at the Arizona state capitol. They know him. One portly bearded fellow walks up to him to say “We got a permit. You gotta stay on the sidewalk and that’s it. Move.”
A couple of minutes later, as one man is saying “hey (epithet), get the (epithet) out of here,” even as the speaker is saying that he has the right to be there, he’s pushed out of the park while many in the crowd yell at him.
This, to Barb Heller, an organizer of the rally, is a request to leave that was “nicely done.”
Gilman is no stranger to covering anti-immigration rallies, or neo-Nazi demonstrations, or other controversial groups in Arizona. In a profile of the activist and writer by the Phoenix New Times, Gilman said it’s common for him to be threatened with physical violence, with a Tea Party activist once poking him with a sign that read, “Dennis Gilman is a Pimp.”
Heller, an anti-immigration activist in Phoenix and strong supporter of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, described Gilman in an exclusive interview with Raw Story as a provocateur. “They entice riots,” she said of Gilman and another reporter, Stephen Lemons from the Phoenix New Times. “They’re not like regular reporters. They don’t have an ounce of class. … I don’t consider the New Times ‘media.’”
Heller, who had not yet seen the video when speaking to Raw Story, accused Gilman of using deceptive editing and deliberate provocation in the past, in order to get dramatic video. And she said that the anti-immigration activists had the right to remove Gilman.
“We jumped through all of the hoops,” she said. “We did this venue strictly wanting it at the capitol so that we would be protected, that we could have the right to tell people to leave or tell people from the word go that they were not welcome. It was nicely done, and he immediately started swinging around and knocking a few people down, from what I understand. When he was asked to please move to the sidewalk, we didn’t make him leave entirely, but we could make him leave the area we had reserved, which was the Senate lawn.”
Gilman can be heard on the video asking the anti-immigration activists to find a police officer if they insist that he be removed. Asked why they did not, Heller replied, “We are required by the permit to have our own internal security. That was our internal security.”
Riders United for a Sovereign America — an anti-immigration biker group — sponsored the event, along with the Remember 1986 Coalition and the Black American Leadership Alliance.
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