Man sues La GOP, Shreveport after being injured at convention
Henry Herford of Franklin Parish, the Ron Paul supporter who was was caught on tape being injured last June at the Louisiana Republican Convention in Shreveport, has filed a lawsuit.
The incident went viral on the Internet and was widely reported on by the national news media.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana by Herford’s attorney, Charles Kincaid of Monroe, lists the following defendants:
The City of Shreveport, Officer David Bonillas, Officer C.W. Ivy, the Louisiana Republican Party and its chairman Roger Villere, SMG (manager of the Shreveport Convention Center), and John Doe.
The lawsuit contends that Herford’s civil rights were violated and that he was deprived by the Defendants of equal protection under the law, the right of free speech and free association, the right to secure his person, the right to be free from excessive use of force, the right of due process, and the right of protection under the law.
Herford is asking the court for the following:
1. Award compensatory damages against the Defendants jointly and severally;
2. Award punitive damages against each individual Defendant;
3. Award all costs of this action to Plaintiff;
4. Award reasonable attorney’s fees to Plaintiff;
5. Award all other such relief appropriate and justified in the premises.
The incident occurred when there was a major split between U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas delegates and the establishment Republicans running the convention.
After GOP state caucuses were held, 113 of the 180 delegates elected to the state convention were Ron Paul supporters. However, Louisiana GOP (LAGOP) leaders decided to change the rules and ignore the votes of the majority, and established that 1/3 of the delegates (the exact number of non-Paul delegates) would constitute a majority.
When duly-elected leaders from the Paul delegates were turned away and not recognized by LAGOP chairman Roget Villere, all hell broke loose.
The result was the Paul supporters turning their chairs and backs to Villere and holding their own convention and nominating their own delegates to the national convention in Tampa, FL on August 27-30.
In the process, LAGOP leaders asked Shreveport police to remove two of the Paul supporters from the room. The two individuals, Herford and Alex Helwig, were thrown to the floor and were injured. It was an embarrassing display that got the attention of Paul’s National Campaign Manager John Tate.
In a statement on Paul’s national website, Tate said: “The Ron Paul campaign condemns the unfortunate activities that took place at the Louisiana Republican Convention in Shreveport…State Central Committeeman and Ron Paul supporter Henry Herford Jr. of Franklin Parish was attacked by some security officials who didn’t realize that the body had voted out the previous chairman.”
He went on to say that Herford has a prosthetic hip and, according to a doctor at the scene, it appeared as though the prosthetic hip was dislocated and may require replacement. Helwig, who had been elected chairman of the Rules Committee, was also arrested by police. When he returned, some of his fingers were broken and he was walking with a cane.
A recent statewide poll, released first by the Ouachita Citizen newspaper in West Monroe and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland of Washington, D.C., gives an interesting early picture of the 2015 Louisiana governor’s race.
It shows Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in the lead with with 18%, but state Rep. John Bel Edwards, a white Democrat from Amite, came in with 17%. The polling organization dubbed it a statistical tie for first place. Edwards is running; Vitter hasn’t said if he is.
Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who has announced he will definitely be a candidate for governor, was third with 14%..
The only other potential candidate to reach double digits was Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, who sources speculate paid for the poll.
Some political analysts opine that because neither Vitter nor Dardenne broke 20%, it could be a sign that voters are weary of these politicians and looking elsewhere for leadership.
Edwards was quick to ponce on the results. “These early results give credence to what I have heard from people all over the state – they are hungry for a governor who will put Louisiana first,” Edwards said.
The first Democrat to announce, Edwards is a graduate of West Point and the LSU School of Law.
Another U.S. Senate candidate
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu already has two declared opponents as she seeks re-election to a fourth six-year term in 2014.
Republicans U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge and retired Army colonel Rob Maness of Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish have already announced they will run.
Now comes Republican state Sen. Norby Chabert of Houma in Terrebonne Parish. He is touting that he is being courted to jump into the race against Landrieu.
But there are a couple of stumbling blocks on Chabert’s road to running. Until two years ago, he was a registered Democrat. Better yet, he served as a trusted consultant to Landrieu during her 2002 re-election campaign.
Those two items on his resume have political analysts thinking that he will not run for the U.S. Senate. He is more likely to consider going after the U.S. House seat being vacated by Cassidy, which is the Sixth Congressional District.
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.