Statement from Congressional Candidate Tom Wells on his arrest
This statement from Congressional Candidate Tom Wells is presented verbatim, including all images, as he sent it to us.
I was arrested Sunday January 30, 2022 around 3PM at an event on Flavet Field on UF property. Alachua County jail released me ~10PM on RoR – Release on Recognition. The only charge was Resisting Arrest Without Violence. Which begs the question of what I was being arrested for.
I began campaigning for FL CD3 in June of 2016. I have campaigned face-to-face on Campus more than 100 times, including perhaps 20 times at Flavet Field events, without incident. And I have spoken with numerous UF groups, been to many on campus protests. A number of my campaign volunteers are UF students.
The event was advertised on Facebook, ergo it was a public event. Flavet Field is open on the north and west sides; the largest freely accessible venue for public events on UF campus
Several days prior to the event I responded that I was going (one of only 25 positive responses).
Events of Sunday June 30, 2022
I entered Flavet Field from the open north side around 2PM, walked over to the event and began talking politics/elections with people. When I got to the sign-in table at the South East corner I went and signed-in. The sign-in tables were occupied mostly or entirely by HSA members and I spoke with each.
Some time later the apparent leader, or at least spokesperson, of HSA sought me out and asked me to leave as I was talking politics. I replied that I had registered for the event, that it was a public event as argued above, and that my private conversations at this event were no more disruptive than the many conversations between strangers that were happening across the field – that my oft repeated experience in UF public events was that I was within my rights. She argued that allowing me to converse of politics with people at her event made HSA look bad. I could only state the obvious. That no one was identifying me as a representative of HSA. And that there were a fair number of people standing in lines having conversations with people they just – could we be sure that they were not talking politics?
A few minutes later 2 UFPD officers came over to ask me to leave stating that I was trespassing. I replied that I was at a public event and asked them under what statutory authority they could demand that I leave. Again I argued that my comportment did not materially differ from that of others at the event. The reply was that this was a private event, that I was not invited, and that the Host of the event, the HSA personage that I had spoken with both had the authority to order my eviction and had done so. [The lawyer that called me this afternoon volunteering to assist in my defense indicated that the UF President could specifically authorize such power. It occurs to me now that to do so in a public event would still be over-reach. Yet it would be of interest to know if such dispensation was given for this event Host. Unless that is common practice, I’d be astonished.] The officers displayed some patience with going through these arguments and my counters several times.
Then with no warning of arrest – I recall only something like ‘gotta do it the hard way’ – they put their hands on my back and pushed with mild force. I did not start walking as they intended. I was resisting. 5 seconds later I was on the ground with one arm twisted behind my back and cuffed. I did not respond rationally in the moment. I resisted giving them my other wrist. Totally futile. Perhaps 2 minutes later I had been marched to the police car. The officers gave me plenty of time of hoist myself into the back seat with my hands tightly cuffed behind me.
An officer, there were several of them by this point, noticed that my right wrist was bleeding. They called med team – swabbed the wound – no big deal, Put my cuffed wrists behind me again.
Through all this I never felt any anger. I’ve thought about/observed what too often happens to black people, to brown people, to Latinos in our inJustice System for so long that I could feel my white privilege even as I sat in the police car with my cuffed wrists behind me bleeding. The pain in my wrists and shoulder was quite intense, but just pain. It did not betoken injury. Would/did end and be forgotten. Soon.
And no read me my Miranda Rights. This means that they cannot use anything I said against me. So it seems to a couple of my judicially experienced correspondents today that the Prosecutor has a weak case and is likely t drop the charges. But there is a ‘secondary’ issue which is vastly more devastating to this campaign – hence to me.
The Trespass Warning, reproduced above, issued to me makes it criminal trespass for me to set foot on UF property for the next 3 years. The only appeal is to the UF Police Chief. Examination of the record of such appeals is necessary. Likewise for power invested, by statues quoted, in the (new)President of UF. I suggest that petitions for annulment are in order. Further protest of this Draconian measure against projected speech is a subject worthy of protest. I am aware that the Red Legs are in session in Tally and far more hideous curtailments of voting right and all rights (save gun rights) are imperiled. These are the times we times live in. These some of the reasons that we campaign.
Congressional districts get much larger voter turnout than city elections districts (which get 3% of G’ville population max). Congressional elections get people from well outside Gville too, thank God.
“A number of my campaign volunteers are UF students.” ~ therein lies part of the problem in this country.
“Through all this I never felt any anger. I’ve thought about/observed what too often happens to black people, to brown people, to Latinos in our inJustice System for so long that I could feel my white privilege even as I sat in the police car with my cuffed wrists behind me bleeding.” ~ that statement will more than likely “buy” him a couple votes although I doubt from the HSA event he crashed. Another victim of brainwashing…
It’s worth noting that although he says he never felt angry during his encounter – he sure looks like an “angry white man” in his mugshot.
They should have tazed and then cuffed him. He
Was disrupting the organizers’ event and they asked
Him politely to leave. Police asked him to leave. If you don’t
Leave of your own volition, they will help you leave
And in this case he was brought to 39th Ave. I’m sure
UF has rules about handing out propaganda on its
Properties and you have to get permission from Tigert
It’s UF property. If UF asks you to leave, You leave.
If the guy came onto my property and I asked him
To leave, he should leave. This guy is a real A-hole.
He got no white privilege on his way to jail. They
Should have made him post a bond to make it sting
What’s with all the abbreviations and what does BI9
Mean? 9 bisexual groups? An advertisement with
Gators on a Ferris wheel with abbreviations on it?
Are they “Gaytors”? I went to UF forty years ago
And I’m having a problem understanding what this
Event is about…what does HSA stand for and those
Other abbreviations? Anyway, The guy should have left when
Asked, just like a panhandler should get out of the
Median if a law enforcement officer asks them to.
HSA – Hisapanic Association
Bi9 – “Big 9” refers to 9 of the biggest, well-known student organization at UF
The event was a collaboration between some of these big 9 organizations for the communities that they represent to interact.
What do all the abbreviations stand for?
HSA = Hispanic Student Association
Advertised as a public event on taxpayer-supported State property. I’ve witnessed a few instances where Campus police and Sheriff Dept. exercise capricious overreach on UF property. The incidents appear to take place as “drills” or teaching events to show new personnel how they can get away with bullying law-abiding citizens. Several uniforms will all appear at once as if they were already poised to show up and pounce on a lone unaccompanied male. — Campus police are equipped with M-4 rifles as was famously revealed in the shooting of an unarmed campus student in his own home. — In March, 2010, campus police broke into the University of Florida campus apartment of disabled and unarmed Ghanaian doctoral student, Kofi Adu-Brempong, and within a minute of breaking down the door, heavily armed campus police shot the unarmed black graduate student in the face. There’s a documentary of the event still available if you Google it. — Finally I recall when the campus Provost attempted to have the main library cancel an English department presentation on “COINTELPRO” after it was disallowed at UF on-campus facilities.
Regardless of the validity of his arrest, he, like most Democrats elected and those running for office, appears and writes like someone on some controlled or prescribed substance. Or simply nuts.
What he says is reasonable. He speaks fairly, avoiding the opportunity to exaggerate his injury or belittle the cops. Not sure at all that he caused this mess. The trouble is that once things are messed up, you can’t unmess them.
Once a cop gives you a directive, you follow it and sue the organizers afterward if you feel you have a legitimate beef. Would you feel the same way if it was an Islamist extremist “preaching” Farrakhan philosophy at the event? No organizer wants someone with an alien agenda to take over their event.
He apparently thinks all of this happened on June 30, 2022. And he sounds like a butt-hurt loon.
I’m glad to know that a Hispanic Student Association sponsored event actually stood up against a Marxist Democrat. Maybe because we have so much history battling Marxists where we originally came from. I know when I was at UF starting in 1977 I was a member of CASA (Cuban-American Student Association). Most of them members were, if not decidedly conservatives, at least very openly anti-Marxist.