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Lawlessness, Tyranny, and Violence at the Louisiana Republican Convention


On Saturday, June 2, 2012, the Louisiana Republican Convention convened to select 46 delegates to the national convention. But within 2 and half minutes violence erupted when the police, at the command of the chairman of the LA GOP, Roger Villere, removed Ron Paul Rules Committee Chairman Alex Helwig. After being detained by the Shreveport police, Helwig was released with several broken fingers and was seen walking with a cane. One can only wonder why the police felt the need to use such force on the 42-year-old small business owner, or why later the police ignored the repeated pleas of the Ron Paul convention chariman that he had a "handicap" when they tried to forcibly remove him, which resulted in his hospitalization.

On April 28 Ron Paul overwhelmingly won the LA Caucus with a 2/3 majority. His supporters headed to Shreveport with that same 2/3 majority prepared to elect national delegates to the Republican National Convention in August.  I was part of that elected delegation.

GOP establishment members were outraged at Paul’s caucus victory and one prominent GOP member vowed he would do whatever it took to stop Ron Paul. Obviously this included resorting to lawlessness, tyranny, and violence.

Mere hours before the convention started the LA GOP emailed delegates 16 pages of rules which trumped both the stated rules of the convention and Robert’s Rules of Order. These new rules allowed the LA GOP to appoint a permanent chairman of the convention, to establish a quorum with only 1/3 of the delegates (the exact number of establishment delegates) and to otherwise overturn any decision made by the lawfully and democratically elected delegation.

The LA GOP demonstrated through their thwarting of the results of an election and through illegal appointments that they care nothing for the will of the voters or the rule of law.

The convention began with the LA GOP violating their own illegal rules. (This is not to even mention the unlawful affidavit that the LA GOP tried to strong-arm the delegation into signing before the convention. That story will get its own blog post.) Delegates were handed at the convention a print-out of the new rules. These new rules established a procedure for the seating of guests to the convention, but the Sergeant at Arms refused to seat any guests because he said he feared for the safety of the delegation—that old standby excuse for tyranny.

Self-appointed Chairman, Roger Villere, called the meeting to order and was immediately presented with “requests for information” by the Ron Paul delegation. He responded to one request and announced that 1/3 constituted a quorum. More requests came from the floor but self-appointed chairman Villere refused to acknowledge these delegates.

Controversy ensued when Villere called for a report from the Rules Committee. On Friday the Ron Paul majority had unseated the establishment-appointed chairman and had elected Paul supporter Alex Helwig. Both Helwig, the elected Rules chairman, and the illegally appointed chairman moved forward to give reports.

Helwig repeatedly insisted that he was the lawfully elected chairman. Self-appointed chair Villere then called in the police to remove Helwig who later sustained injuries during his detainment.

Immediately there was a motion on the floor by the Paul majority to remove Villere. The motion was seconded and passed, at which point the entire Ron Paul delegation, making up 2/3 of the total delegates, picked up their chairs, turned them around, and proceeded to have a lawful convention in the same room at the same time.

The Paul majority then elected Henry Herford as the chairman of the convention. He began conducting business. Unseated chair Villere again called for the police who then approached Herford, who repeatedly asserted that he had a handicap. The police ignored his pleas and he fell to the ground. The police maintain the Mr. Herford fell over a chair. Mr. Herford asserts that his legs were kicked out from under him.

Herford, who has had a hip replacement surgery, was injured. Police initially tried to prevent doctors in the delegation from attending to Mr. Herford, and eyewitnesses report that Officer Mayfield and Officer Bonilla gloated about taking down the 56-year-old. It was indeed a fine day for the Shreveport police.

Mr. Herford was later taken to a hospital by ambulance where he was also arrested.

The Paul majority then elected a second chairman, Connie Bernard, who conducted the business of the convention. The lawful and legitimate delegation elected national delegates and accepted reports from the various committees. Efficiently running through the convention agenda, the Paul majority adjourned the convention before 11:30 a.m.

Later the illegal minority convention issued a report falsely stating that the Paul majority had refused to participate in the convention. The Paul delegation never left the room, elected delegates according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and conducted a legal and legitimate convention.

Both conventions will submit delegate slates to the Republican National Convention, who will then determine which slate is the legitimate one.

In the end, the Louisiana GOP establishment may in fact get their way. The RNC may refuse to seat the lawfully elected delegates. But the Paul majority had no other choice.

The LA GOP decided to make up the rules as they went along, giving themselves every advantage and overturning the democratically elected Paul majority.

But the LA GOP are fools—they worked hard to win the battle, but they have lost the war. They may have succeeded in keeping Ron Paul from getting the GOP nomination, but they have also succeeded in making sure that Mitt Romney won’t win the general election.

Romney can’t win without the support of the Ron Paul Revolution. The tyranny, lawlessness, and violence of the LA GOP guarantees that he won’t get that support.

I suspect that Barack Obama raised a glass to Roger Villere and company today.



Update: Eyewitnesses outside of the convention hall report that after police removed Alex Helwig from the room, they threw him onto the ground with great force. Anyone watching this video can see why that kind of treatment was necessary. Mr. Helwig was a public nuisance threatening the safety of the entire convention. I felt much safer once he was removed from the premises. PLEASE DON'T MISS THE SARCASM!

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very nice reporting. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you.

Keb Radics said...

Bobby Jindal is a Tyrant. He has a thug blue shirted police force he uses to silence his political opponents.
They have crossed the Rubicon here.
Look this thing at the convention today is no small matter. We had more people in the room. Only problem is they the police were armed. Look I don't want to put too fine a point on this but this is an expression of the coercive power of the state. What was the threat from the police if you did not comply? People were hurt. This is an assault by policemen arranged by political insiders. You're correct we were in the majority so why did the police not support our people and throw them out.

These cops gladly supported a purely political purpose. They should have told those GOP hacks no we will not enforce your rules and be dragged into politics. This is an abuse of the highest order.

This is why we have a 2nd amendment. So that the state and it's thugs don't have a right and a means to suppress our political dissent.

Anonymous said...

the gentleman was seen in the Hilton lobby a couple hours later after the incident walking around in the lobby, and obstructing elevator traffic......... and that is a matter of fact....Shreveport police were very professional during the entire incident,and that is the fact.

Anonymous said...

And for those of you that wonder why OBAMA is in office; and might go back in, I am very afraid that you now have your answer.

For the life of me, I can understand the point of this convention in the first place. The Mitt guy has won the nomination on the shear number of delegates alone...without even the need for us to show up.

That said.....we tore ourselves apart with the constant infighting, of the the primary, giving Obama all the ammunition that he needs....and I am very afraid.....we got behind a man that can't beat Obama, because we have already tore him apart before the election started.

One thing you gotta give it to the minorities....they stick together, no matter what. But we fight and tear each other apart. And we loose.

And I'm tired of loosing.

Anonymous said...

Henry Herford is 56, not 70. Just thought I would clarify.

Angelina in Louisiana said...

You say that the Shreveport police were professional. Is it professional to gloat when you have injured someone and to publicly declare that you are happy that you hurt him? Welcome to the police state!

Anonymous said...

I was at the convention, but saw things in a different light. I found the Ron Paul group to be a thoroughly raucous crowd who used intimidation and deceit to push their weight around. I also doubt the legitimacy of your "majority" since there was so many lies pushed on the voting public during the election of delegates. The information paper handed out at the polling places was filled with outright lies. Slate 1 was labelled Mitt Romney's slate--but was all Ron Paul delegates. There were other slates for issues such as tea party candidates and such which were also filled with Ron Paul delegates. From what I have seen, I will never support Paul!

Anonymous said...

Professional?! You are right. When the police violently takedown a duly elected delegate doing the business of the convention they are just conducting themselves in a manner consistent with what is expected of the police state.
I do not think Mr. Herford suffered permanent injury but most definitely suffered undue injury at the hands of Shreveport PD and Mr. Villere's minions.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, I was seated right next to the gentleman as he sat on the floor. I saw the sheer anguish of the policeman as he realized he was being manipulated into looking like an aggressor. You guys were really over the top! Just because a hack like chad Rogers is on your side and willing to put lies on his feeble blog doesn't add legitimacy to the fact that what happened today was planned and executed by Ron Paul's army of zealots! I saw dr. Klepper take the elderly gentleman's left shoe off. Not a minute later, a lady said into her camera phone, "they threw him down so hard his shoe flew off." I am so disappointed in the whole Ron Paul camp. If you need to lie to get in, we're no better off than we are with the current president!

Shawn Wilson said...

Be BRAVE and reveal who you are!! Don't hide behind the "anonymous" banner. COWARDS!!

Bruce Hansen said...

It's all on video on YouTube for people to decide what happened. I could clearly hear Mr. Herford tell the off duty police in police uniforms that he had a medical disability but they pushed him to the ground anyway in their arrest of the new chairman. Mr. Villers should be sued for ordering this assault and false arrest. Romney needs to apologize and make amends for the behavior of these thugs if he has any hopes of getting Ron Paul supporters and independents, who happen upon this story, to support him in the election.

Marquis_de_Brieu said...

I heard that the minority convention claims they're protecting the will of the primary voters. So, in their mind, the Republican Party should put numerical democracy over the RULE OF LAW. The Rule of Law and protection of the individual as citizen is what separates a REPUBLIC from a DEMOCRACY.

The Ron Paul supporters were not merely the majority of delegates, they are showing they're the only REPUBLICANS, in the true meaning of that word, left in this country! Republicans don't put democracy over law and established procedure!

Anonymous said...

Remember, the GOP would rather have Obama than to let Paul derail their Warfare/Welfare Gravy Train.

Gonna be big fun in Tampa

Pat Jack said...

Would it be accurate to say that members of the Shreveport police department tortured Alex Helwig while he was held in their jail facilities? The breaking of the fingers is an older torture technique than water boarding, probably one of the very first torture techniques developed by mankind is the breaking of the fingers.

When the fingers of a political activist are broken by police while being held in a jail facility, isn’t that the very definition of torture. And that he was walking with a limp, can’t we easily infer he was beaten so badly that he was in such pain that he could not then walk without pain?

Wasn’t Alex Helwig “tortured” by the Shreveport police?

Anonymous said...

when the police officers ask the gentalman to leave, he did not, police did try to lead him out, members of the group interfered in the police escorting the gentalman out which was the reason why he fell. good thing the convention wasnt in New Orleans, without a doubt many of of those who interfered with the police would have headaches today and spent the night in jail..... come on who are you? i expect this conduct from the Dems.

Anonymous said...

Angelina,

You should take all the other good things on your page down. Because the hit piece you just wrote does not belong with the good godly things that I see around it. I'm sad for you.

Anonymous said...

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Since 2000 Republicans have been the party of unabashed vote suppression. It was only a matter of time before they started to eat their young. You can't steal a presidential election without karma coming back to bite you.

As you write the GOP is Illegaly purging minority voters from the Florida and New Mexico rolls under the guise of citizenship checks, in direct contravention of Fed law and a Justice department warning. I like you am a Paulie, but I hope you have the courage -- and consistency -- of your convictions.

Anonymous said...

"Good, Godly things" being the positions you advocate and not hers?

Judging a little above your pay grade, aren't you scout?

Beware the sin of hubris. Dominus vobiscum.

Anonymous said...

In spiritu humilitatis...

Anonymous said...

"The minorities" get a vote apiece, just like Republicans. What's so awful about that?

The rule of law is confirmed when it goes against your interest, not with it. I'd be wary of anyone trying to reverse-engineer a result into a free and democratic process.

But I'm not a Republican.

Ed B said...

I was at the convention. I saw things differently. The Ron Paul horde was intimidating. They had their own security force with shirts that said security. (these goons weren’t allowed in thank God!). Many of the Ron Paul delegates had walkie talkies with ear pieces and they would point at delegates and position themselves right next to ones that they felt could be easily intimidated. The meeting was chaos from the start! There wasn’t one minute where a Ron Paul delegate wasn’t making a commotion. If it hadn’t been such an important event it would have been laughable. I turned to the person next to me and asked if some “occupy” zealots had infiltrated the group. That’s exactly what it was like–occupy nut jobs filled with worn out hippie ideas about protests. I liked some things about Ron Paul before the meeting. Now I just think the whole lot is dangerously insane! I wouldnt vote for him to run my town sewerage board. And furthermore, if he is the answer why hasn’t he produced. Paul is just another bloated windbag politician who has become obsessed with himself! Now he has an army.

Anonymous said...

Ed -- You realize of course that these "thugs" had won the April caucus by a huge margin and were entitled to carry that result to Tampa under the GOP's own bylaws.

When the will of the voters is stolen by polite crooks, I'll put my vote in with thuggish men of honor.

Anonymous said...

When I see this vid of a roomful angry, frightened old white people -- the 180-degree pan revealed not a single exception -- I realize the demographic hell into which Nixon's southern strategy has consigned y'all...

You look like so many rats scurrying around a sinking ship.

Anonymous said...

A public gloating from a head-bashing officer? I'm devastated.

I wish that just once in your life you'd spend three hours of your day in a ride-along with a typical black family. I'm a huge admirer of your site but your cultural myopia is a little staggering. Nothing is real until it arrives at your doorstep.

Angelina in Louisiana said...

I don't doubt that I suffer from the limitations of my own cultural perspective. I try to remedy or at least lessen this by getting to know as many people as I can who have other perspectives--and listening to their stories.

I don't want to get into a long discussion of everything I think about the police and minorities. But I will say this, I am often sort of amused at how one-dimensional I come off on this blog. I suppose it can't be helped.

So I can understand how it would look to you that I've been in this isolated cocoon. But I assure you that just because I haven't mentioned anything like this before doesn't mean that I have not thought about or talked about or dealt with it before.

Your assumption that I have never spent time up close with a typical black family is also incorrect. Again, I get how you assume that. But, it's pretty far from the truth.

I am deeply concerned about injustices perpetrated on minorities. And I am equally concerned about the great wounds that exist and I have tried to be active in doing what I can to bring healing to those wounds in my own community. But I don't write about those things; those tend to be the stories I tell in person, face to face. Maybe I should write about them.

I just worry that to people who don't personally know me, I'll come off contrived and insincere. But I see that in my silence I have come off badly as well.

Anonymous said...

Your gracious reply to my semi-obnoxious post is appreciated and I of course withdraw the comment. Sorry.

Reformateur de la Valette said...

As someone who's witnessed your diligent and thoughtful work with black children in impoverished and otherwise compromised situations, I, too, appreciate your gracious reply to the post.

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Amanda said...

Angelina, thanks so much for this story. I was having a hard time understanding what happened just based on the twitter feed.

Sincerely,
MO State convention delegate

Angelina in Louisiana said...

Amanda,

Read this (http://angelinainlouisiana.blogspot.com/2012/06/letter-to-la-gop-executive-committee.html) for more background info on the whole thing. The party leaders had been changing the rules every step of the way--each time giving themselves the advantage--and yet the Paul Vote still beat them.