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VIDEO: Protester tazed at Rick Santorum rally after chanting "gay marriage is OK"

(Editor's note: Melanie Nathan is a frequent contributor to SDGLN. She reports that she and Kristina Lapinski are OK but shaken after Monday night's incident during a Rick Santorum campaign speech.)

TACOMA, Wash. – Gay U.S.A.’s Kristina Lapinski and Melanie Nathan attended a Rick Santorum rally Monday night in Tacoma, Wash., to see what the Republican presidential candidate had to say about the same-sex marriage bill signed into law Monday by Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Santorum had barely opened his mouth to speak to a rally of about 500 supporters when a group of about 10 young people stood up in the crowd yelling at Santorum: “This is what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like.” They successfully drowned out Santorum, who could not be heard over the screams of the protestors.

Nathan approached the group and joined them in their chant. Lapinski pointed her cameras at the young chanters and at Nathan, and shouted out to the chanters: “The Governor has signed marriage equality in Washington today, tell Santorum gay marriage is OK!” At that point, the group started chanting: “Gay marriage is OK! Gay marriage is OK!”

Santorum tried to be heard over the loudspeaker system but his voice was drowned out by the chants of “Gay marriage is OK!” The crowd of Santorum supporters remained seated and seemed puzzled by the sudden protest.

About four police officers approached the group. Nathan left the group to turn the GAY U.S.A. camera spotlight rig away from Santorum and to focus the light onto the crowd, as Lapinski filmed the mayhem.

Just then the police dragged one of the protesters out of the group. Santorum all the while continued talking from the elevated podium stage, high above and well away from the crowd. He was nowhere near the fracas and was never close to any protesters. The crowd was relatively calm as the protesters chanted, yet the police decided to grab two of them.

Nathan cast the spotlight down on a man being tazed so Lapinski could keep filming. Santorum campaign personnel kept trying to pull the spotlight out of Nathan’s hand, but she kept plugging it back in.

About four police dragged one unnamed young man to the ground and while the man’s hands were behind his back, they started to drag him and tazed him. It did not seem necessary to taze him as he was not resisting. He was well in custody at the time of the tazing. They put the cuffs on him and dragged him along the floor away from the venue, while Santorum supporters were chanting: “U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.”

Then, the Santorum supporters started to grab Lapinski and Nathan and their camera equipment and were yelling at them. They were calling them names: “You filth, you filth.” One woman shouted: “When you lay dying you will think about this and you will know you are going to hell.” One man put his hand in his pocket as if to indicate he had a weapon. People in the crowd started to pull on both Lapinski and Nathan.

Two really burly men started to shove at Lapinski and Nathan, who grabbed their gear and ran for the car.

Footnote

Kristina Lapinski is the young lesbian filmmaker featured last November questioning Newt Gingrich and Santorum, who she took by surprise at a closed Tea Party debate in New Hampshire. That video went viral and was reported in various venues including Huffington Gay Voices and can be seen on Gay U.S.A. the Movie.

Below is a portion of the video footage shot by Lapinski at the Santorum event Monday night.


Protestor Tazed at Santorum Rally from www.gayusathemovie.com on Vimeo.


Visit Gay U.S.A. the Movie blog HERE.