Pro-gun activist claims he’s a ‘political prisoner’ after arrest for disrupting courtroom
A former Republican congressional candidate complained he was a victim of “tyranny” after was arrested last week during a courtroom disruption in Washington state.
Gavin Seim was in court Thursday with his father and about a dozen other supporters of Tavis Shasteen, who was cited in October after he refused to show his driver’s license to a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop for speeding.
The deputy allowed the 19-year-old Shasteen to leave with a criminal citation instead of booking him into jail and impounding his car, reported The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle.
One of Seim’s brothers, Nathan Seim, complained when a bailiff told him to turn off a livestream recording of the proceedings on the judge’s order.
Deputies then led him out of the courtroom as he shouted, “Who stands with me?”
The 23-year-old said his father and some of his seven brothers attempted to form a barrier to the courtroom doors, but he said the deputies knocked them out of the way.
The sheriff said Gavin Seim, who is not an attorney, told Judge Judith McCauley that he intended to represent Shasteen and complained that she barred spectators from live-streaming video from the courtroom.
He disputes that he attempted to represent his friend but said he was instead notifying the judge that she was violating courtroom rules by prohibiting the live video broadcast.
He also accused deputies of “kidnapping” his younger brother.
Douglas County Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal said the 29-year-old Seim began yelling at the judge and walked toward the bench, and McCauley ordered him removed from the courtroom.
He pulled away from deputies as they tried to escort him out, the sheriff said, and Seim was arrested and charged with interfering with a court, disorderly conduct, and contempt of court.
The judge gave Shasteen’s supporters a choice – they could stay if they maintained courtroom decorum, or they could leave.
Grant Seim, 59, told the judge he would not calm down and he would not leave, authorities said, and then sat down on the floor and told the sheriff to arrest him.
The sheriff didn’t arrest the elder Seim, but East Wenatchee police officers who had been called in to assist took him into custody on charges of interfering with court and disorderly conduct.
Shasteen was eventually convicted after just 15 minutes of deliberations of failing to show his driver’s license.
Gavin Seim, who posts videos of his own contentious interactions with police and organized a rally against a state law expanding background checks for gun purchases, described himself as a “political prisoner.”
“I’m proud to sit as a political prisoner with my father Grant for demanding the constitution be upheld in a lawless court,” Seim said a Facebook post. “Tell (Shasteen) lost his jury trial. The Douglas County judges and prosecutors collated to obstruct justice, hampered him from speaking on his own behalf, and would not allow him to address jury nullification, a fundamental pillar of justice.”
Juries have in the past acquitted some defendants they believe are guilty when all jurors believe the law is immoral or unjustly applied.
Some libertarian activists and others argue that juries should be instructed about the concept, which is not legally sanctioned but exceedingly difficult to prove outside the jury room.
Watch video from the incident posted online by Gavin Seim: