Pastor Harris Himes sent me this letter following the shocking verdict in the Gladney beatdown case. Pastor Himes and his wife Sandra witnessed the local SEIU thugs attack Kenneth Gladney outside a Russ Carnahan town hall event in 2009. They were there when the SEIU beat an innocent black man. Harris was obviously upset with the verdict yesterday.
After a health care town hall meeting in August 2009 St. Louis native Kenneth Gladney was beaten, kicked and called racist names by Rep. Russ Carnahan’s SEIU supporters. Gladney spent the night in the hospital after the beating.
Yesterday the two SEIU goons who beat Gladney were found not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Pastor Himes was one of three impartial witnesses to the crime. The prosecution did not call him to testify in the trial. Yesterday the goons won.
Here’s his reaction–
My wife, Sandra, and I attended St. Louis Congressman Carnahan’s panel on aging on August 6, 2009. The tactic was clear. They let in about two hundred of us but had about 120 seats set aside, marked “RSVP,” and these were for Carnahan supporters. These people were let in by a side door for the “handicapped.” Many had purple tea shirts with “Organizing for America” in white letters on the back and large “SEIU,” smaller “Service Employees International Union” on the front. Sandra and I managed to get in.
Following this sham townhall meeting, as Sandra and I walked back to our car, she stopped to look at some buttons and flags, “Don’t Tread on Me,” etc., being sold by a nice, young black man (Kenneth Gladney), when—just as she was walking away—a large, black man in a purple tea shirt (Elston McCowan) confronted Gladney, “What kind of a son of a n_______ are you?” and slapped his hand which held the yellow flags. Then he punched Gladney in the side of his face , knocking him down. Another large, purple-tea-shirt white man (Perry Molens) attacked him from behind, jerking him to the ground. The fight continued across the sidewalk, out into the street—where the video began recording the incident, with Sandra and me and several others trying to break it up. We identified McCowan and Molens to the police, and they arrested them. As it turns out, Sandra and I were only two of three witnesses to the start of the fracas. This becomes important, since the union thugs claim that Gladney started the fight.
Finally, after almost two years have elapsed, the trial started on July 11, 2011. The County had subpoenaed both Sandra and me for the trial. The prior week, at the invitation of the prosecutor, Shujat Qalbani, we had gone over our testimony with the young prosecutor. Actually, Mr. Qalbani was the second prosecutor with whom we had contact over this case — the first prosecutor being Vic Melenbrink who was promoted out of the County.
Due to my own well-known activist history in Montana as both pastor and California attorney in addition to being president of Montana Eagle Forum — working in the legislature and elsewhere for pro-family values with Montana’s Focus on the Family, Montana Concerned Women for America, the Roman Catholic Conference, Montana Help Our Moral Environment, Right to Life, etc. — the County decided not to use me as a witness, because the defense might be able to distract the jury from my testimony and possibly damage the prosecution’s case.
On the morning of July 11, 2011, I accompanied Sandra — who was still a witness — in order to view the proceedings. However, the defense attorney insisted that we be kept out because we were both potential witnesses — a common occurrence in trials. Because of that, I saw virtually none of the trial, and Sandra took part only in the part which involved her own testimony.
Sandra and I are particularly dissatisfied with the “not guilty” verdict. As a trial attorney in California since 1979, where at one time I had five offices and 28 attorneys, I feel competent to comment:
- The County downplayed this incident right from the start. Rather than charging the defendants with criminal assault and battery, the offense was only a misdemeanor in violation of a county ordinance.
- The case dragged on and on with no apparent pressure to bring it to trial. However, Melenbrink told me he had tried to set a trial date, but was limited to two days — a time period we both agreed was too short.
- In both instances, the trial attorneys assigned to prosecute the case had no prior jury trial experience. However, the defense attorney is a seasoned trial veteran.
- While Qalbani himself gave a commendable effort in preparation — and had help from a senior County prosecutor, and two others — he should never have been given the responsibility for such a high-profile case. He was a sacrificial lamb.
- The jury completely disregarded the testimony of two witnesses — Sandra and Mr. Morelli(?) — who testified unequivocally that McCowan and Molens initiated the attack upon Gladney. That was the sole issue of the trial. Neither Sandra nor Morelli knew each other or Mr. Gladney prior to the incident and have had almost no contact with each other since.
- It was possibly bad judgment on the County’s part to keep me from testifying.
- It is incredible that the jury would believe the defense’s evidence that two men, each well over 6 feet tall and approximately 250 pounds, were simultaneously attacked by Gladney who is approximately 5’8″ tall and about 140 pounds.
- Mr. Gladney has been on pain medication since the incident. Some criticized his testimony, but he refrained from his medication so he would be clear minded. It is tough to testify when you are in pain, wearing a neck brace following surgery. Apparently, Mr. Qalbani was unaware of this, even though Gladney had given records to Qalbani’s predecessor, Mr. Melenbrink. However, that particular municipal court is known to frequently lose/misplace records.
- Judge Robert Adler, a municipal court judge, is hardly a superior jurist.
- Judge Adler informed Mr. Qalbani that he would be allowed only two days for a trial which merited 3 to 4 days — because Adler was due to leave for July 14.
- Some news tabloids — River Front Times — suggested that the jury had been stacked with people who had union ties.
- In sum, it was a miscarriage of justice. The facts were clearly established by impartial witnesses that the defendants in truth and fact assaulted Mr. Gladney, severely injuring him. Gladney has recently had neck surgery as a result of two very large men attacking him.
Thank you Pastor Himes.