Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein said Wednesday police handcuffed her to a chair during her eight-hour imprisonment following her arrest outside the second presidential debate.
“For most of the time it was just [running mate] Cheri Honkala and myself,” Stein told Democracy Now anchor Amy Goodman. “Yet they felt the need to keep us in tight plastic restraints tightly secured to metal chairs.”
Stein and Honkala were arrested Tuesday while sitting in the street to protest their exclusion from this year’s presidential debates between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. They tried to enter the debate hall at the host site, Hofstra University, but were denied access because they lacked the necessary credentials.
During her arrest, Stein criticized the group that organized the event, the Commission on Presidential Debates, which was put together as a joint effort by Democrats and Republicans to administer the debates after the League of Women Voters stepped out of that role in 1987.
Stein said the two women were handcuffed the entire time they spent inside a facility specifically designed to hold protesters, even though they had only been charged with violations. She said a request for their release was denied because, she was told, authorities did not want them “wandering around.”
Stein also said she and Honkala were not released until about 30 minutes after the Obama-Romney debate, when they were told “their car” was waiting for them.
“It was actually a Secret Service car, apparently, that was waiting for us,” Stein said. “We were not allowed to make a phone call, there was no phone that was working. We didn’t have ours — we had given our phones to our assistants — so it was quite a bit of work to be able to borrow a phone from someone in a gas station.”
She did, however, say that she was allowed to return a call from her lawyer at one point, but was unable to make arrangements for her release because she did not know when that would happen.
“They actually told our staff that they would be arrested if they continued to wait on site,” Stein said.
Watch Stein’s recounting of her experience, aired on Democracy Now Wednesday, starting at the 13:30 mark of the video below.