Portsmouth PD: Shea-Porter was removed from Bush town hall by two police officers
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally appeared in NowHampshire.com on September 30, 2009. It has been reprinted here with permission.]
Two officers of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Police Department removed Carol Shea-Porter and Susan Mayer from a February 2005 town hall event hosted by then-President George W. Bush at the request of the owner of the property, a spokesman for the Police Department tells NowHampshire.com.
The revelation contradicts statements made by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter as recently as this week that she was not removed from the event.
“[T]here were no disruptions and no rudeness and I wasn’t removed. If it happened, don’t you think there would have been photos or video or news stories from that day? There aren’t because it didn’t happen,” Shea-Porter told the Portsmouth Herald this weekend.
Shea-Porter was not a member of Congress at the time.
According to Capt. Tim Brownell, who responded to a Freedom of Information request from NowHampshire.com, Detective Sergeant Michael Ronchi and Detective Tom Grella removed the two women from the Pan Am hanger of the Portsmouth International Airport in Portsmouth, NH after being asked to do so by a representative of Pan Am.
“Basically [Ronchi and Grella] were asked by the property owner to remove Ms. Shea-Porter and Ms. Mayer from the building, not by name, but they were asked by the owner of that private property to remove them. They did leave. There were no significant incidents and no reports were done,” Captain Brownell told NowHampshire.com.
Shea-Porter’s office was not available for comment but her spokesperson Jamie Radice recently denied she was removed from the town hall meeting to NowHampshire.com.
Shea-Porter and Mayer had worn sweatshirts to the event. According to a source who was present at the event, their removal was prompted when the two took off their sweatshirts to reveal t-shirts that read “Turn Your Back on Bush.” The two then stood up and turned their backs on the president while in front of media cameras.
Susan Mayer now serves as a homeland security adviser to Rep. Shea-Porter and draws a federal salary of almost $70,000 per year.
Shea-Porter also claimed recently that she was not removed from the event but rather was accosted by a “thug” after the event.
“My friend (Mayer) and I sat respectfully and quietly though the whole event. After it was over and we were leaving, I was grabbed by someone, a thug,” Shea-Porter told the Portsmouth Herald this weekend. “My friend told the person to stop grabbing me and he let go. It may have been a security person, but to this day we don’t who it was. I was there, so I know what I’m talking about.”
Capt. Brownell declined to comment on Shea-Porter’s characterization of the officers involved in the incident as “thugs”. But not all members of the law enforcement community were silent. Retired Manchester Police Sergeant Lloyd Doughty reacted with astonishment.
“For someone of her stature, as an elected official, to say that about members of law enforcement is so distasteful and so disrespectful I can’t even think of a word that describes how I feel. It’s ridiculous,” Doughty told NowHampshire.com.
Shea-Porter has been criticized in recent weeks by state Republicans and national conservative media for her incendiary rhetoric and behavior aimed at constituents who oppose health reform measures in Congress. She has referred to participants in so-called taxpayer tea parties as “tea baggers” and refused to apologize when made aware of the sexual connotation of that phrase.
She recently criticized Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his outburst during a Joint Session of Congress. Republicans “were behaving in a way we never behave,” she told a supportive crowd at a recent Democratic picnic.
“We sat there quietly and politely because that’s what we owe the President of the United States,” she added.
Shea-Porter has made a series of incorrect and sometimes bizarre statements in recent weeks. She has stated, for example, “many of my constituents would love to wait in line for medical care.” And she justifies the House bill to overhaul America’s health care system by saying, “the Constitution did not cover everything.”