Jesse Jackson had no problem was marching alongside the International Socialist Organization to protest against Rahm Emanuel’s school closings. When a blogger asked about it, he was assaulted:
The Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Police Department were obviously working in tandem last Wednesday, and EAGnews reporter Jeremy Segal was an unwanted party crasher.
Why else would the police arrest two union supporters for allegedly assaulting Segal during a union protest, then turn around and let them go without pursuing charges?
Segal was in Chicago Wednesday to film and interview protesters participating in a downtown rally against the planned closing of 54 public schools.
The rally was sponsored by the radical Chicago Teachers Union. Segal spent part of his time interviewing CTU President Karen Lewis, who stood mute for most of his questions, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who answered a few.
A while after his first encounter with Lewis and Jackson, Segal noticed a banner at the head the protest march representing the International Socialist Organization. He returned to where Lewis and Jackson were walking together, hoping to ask Jackson a question about the propriety of protesting with socialists.
That’s when things got a little ugly.
Three men staked out a position in front of Segal, blocking his ability to speak to Lewis and Jackson. Shouting “keep it moving, keep it moving,” the men grabbed at Segal’s coat and equipment and pushed him down a sidewalk on the 200 block of Clark Street in a thuggish fashion.
“It was a coordinated effort to bulldoze me out of there,” said Segal, who acknowledged hitting one of the men in the chest in an attempt at self-defense. “It was designed to make it look like they were clearing the way for (Lewis, Jackson and Congressman Bobby Rush), but the path was fairly clear. It was just a cover for them to come after me.”
The incident was witnessed by Chicago parent Toni Stith, who was protesting with CTU but was troubled by the way Segal was treated. She told a police officer that she saw one of the men strike Segal, and Segal indicated he wanted to press charges.
“We were walking and (Segal) was trying to interview people,” Stith told EAGnews. “They were telling people not to talk to him, and they were putting things in front of his camera and face.
“He started interviewing me, they were trying to put their hands in front of my face, and I was giving my information when I saw them hitting (Segal).”
Segal said he doesn’t remember being struck, “but there was rough pushing and shoving. They were grabbing my camera, microphone and jacket.”
Two of the three men were handcuffed and arrested, and for a while it seemed as though they would be held accountable for their behavior.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” he said. “They didn’t hurt me. But I do think they infringed on my rights. They infringed on my First Amendment right to conduct my business. Jesse Jackson and Karen Lewis never told me to stop asking questions. None of their handlers or staff asked me to stop asking questions. If they felt I was in the wrong, they would have gone to the police to get rid of me.