Adam at StlActivistHub found pictures and analyzed video that corroborates a portion of Elston McCowan's story. While the existence of the Dope Button, seen here, does not negate Elston's story, it also does not prove that he is telling the story of the assault. It does bring the question of the credibility of David Brown to the forefront, and so to get to the heart of the matter, I called him.
My main question to David was this: Why did you send me 6 images, when it was clear that I was asking about the Obama smoking weed badge?
David forwarded me this picture, and said he didn't believe Kenneth was selling that button. David and another associate sold the DOPE button, and this was the subject of Javonne Spitz's photograph. I asked David to contact Kenneth and verify whether that was true, because the board shown in the video pretty clearly has that same button. David says if Kenneth was selling the button, then he was mistaken in his email. Kenneth had his own board of purchased materials. I'm not happy with that answer, but in all fairness, this was two emails traded very late at night, and I did not verify it with David before posting.
The conversation did clear up many other small matters.
1) One, David is not a real estate attorney, and he was not Kenneth's lawyer prior to this event.
2) David is not representing Kenneth in his civil suit, as David is a material witness.
3) David owns a side business that sells merchandise at both conservative and liberal events.
4) David is seen earlier in the day with another young black man who is not Kenneth. This man is the one photographed by Javonne Spitz.
5) According to David, Elston McCowan and Perry Molens first saw David and his buttons earlier in the day while they were in line at about 6:30. They accused David at that point of being racist for having Obama in whiteface (a parody of the Shepard Fairey Hope poster) that you see.
6) Javonne Spitz and Brian Matthews, who were lated arrested for interfering with the police, were involved with David and the second black man earlier in the day. Javonne says, "come here black man," and takes a picture of him next to the Dope button, and Brian Matthews goes to get police officers to I guess complain about them selling buttons.
7) I have significant amounts of footage of Javonne Spitz that day, acting increasingly erratic. She was arrested for interfering, which I have on tape, but she is also part of the criminal assault case.
8) Kenneth was not an employee or contractor of David's. He purchased buttons and flags wholesale from David to sell on his own. David has known Kenneth for three years.
9) This was Kenneth's first time selling merchandise. It was not David's, who had done so several times at Tea Party events this year.
10) David was not an eyewitness to the immediate attack. There are three specific witnesses who are, and who are currently unnamed, and those people have given information to the police.
11) The video of the event is clearly the aftermath. David is the man in the blue shirt and shorts, standing next to the board in the foreground. He is not, as some claimed, the man in white polo who tells Perry Molens "you're going to jail." He picked up the board and flags and stowed them in the car directly after the melee, as they were Kenneth's merchandise.
The button controversy does not disprove Elston McCowan's statements to KMOX or to the socialist reporter. It also does not disprove anything about Gladney's statements. Both men now agree the dispute started when Elston asked Kenneth about the buttons he was selling.
Here are some things we do know.
1) McCowan admits Perry Mullens struck Kenneth Gladney
2) McCowan maintains that Gladney, all of 140 pounds, tackled McCowan a good 240 or more to the ground and struck him repeatedly.
3) McCowan claims that Mullens tried to reason with Gladney, claiming McCowan wouldn't fight back because he was a minister.
4) The evidence for this is from a reporter for a Socialist newspaper, who already knew McCowan and Mullens
5) McCowan claims he was attacked and never responded, but in the video, he's claiming Kenneth pushed him first.
6) There is a fourth person identified who was not arrested.
7) 2 SEIU staff were arrested on suspicion of assault, one woman was arrested for hitting a citizen photographer (who also has a lawyer and is involved), and two Carnahan Crew members, identified earlier by a ShowMeProgress blogger as problem causers, were arrested (this I have on tape). Jake Wagman was also arrested, a reporter for the Post Dispatch.
8) No conservatives, no Tea Party protestors, or any other people affiliated with the Tea Party were arrested.
9) McCowan says Gladney smacked his hand, hit him several times, then pushed him down.
I appreciate the attention from Adam, who has now posted three blogposts based on inaccurate analysis of the video and inaccurate blog reports, but at some point, the truth will come out, and he's going to have to admit he was wrong.
In the end, this all comes down to people who were actually there, and we should be finding out the truth of that shortly.
This is McCowan's story on the International Journal of Socialist Renewal.
“Then the Carnahan folks then said that you could only ask a question if you had written it on one of their forms. But they hadn’t given any of the forms to either Tea Party or SEIU. So both groups left the meeting in a bad mood.”
Walking outside, McCowan saw Gladney selling buttons of Obama in blackface and Obama smoking weed. Feeling insulted, McCowan asked why a black man would be hawking material denigrating the first black president as he pointed to one of the buttons.
“When I pointed at the button, Gladney slapped my hand. So I told him not to hit me and pointed at it again and repeated my question. He smacked my hand even harder, hit me several times and pushed me down. As I went down, I grabbed him by reflex to break my fall. I hit my shoulder and something popped. I lost consciousness for a moment but soon realised that Gladney continued to hit me.
“Another SEIU guy, Perry Molens, came over and told Gladney, ‘He’s a minister and won’t fight back. He can’t see out of one eye. Stop hitting him!’. When Gladney kept on, Perry tried to get him off of me and threw a punch in the process.
“I don’t know why Gladney had an attorney on hand, but his attorney came over yelling ‘You two attacked him!’. Gladney went off to find cops and told them to arrest us. The cops wouldn’t listen to us and did what the Tea Party people told them to do. They arrested me, Perry, a newspaper reporter and three supporters of healthcare reform.”
Commenters all across the web, most aimed with bad information, are trying to state that McCowan was walking away, when he was attacked out of nowhere. That was also McCowan's first comment to the Post Dispatch. Now McCowan says the attack was all Gladney, and that it occurred directly at the button board, but traveled 25-30 feet to the curb as Gladney, 140 lb Gladney, attacked two large SEIU shirted men for no reason.
To believe McCowan, you have to really suspend disbelief. We'll find out soon enough