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Video: Mitt Romney supporter handcuffed, cited at rally blasts Jeffco Sheriff's office

Romney crowd thumb.jpg
Big photos below.
Regan Benson is a supporter of Mitt Romney, but she's not a big fan of the law enforcement officials in charge at the candidate's recent Colorado rally. Benson says that when she was trying to get to her car after the Sunday night campaign event ended, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office refused to let her pass, handcuffed her, detained her for half an hour and told her she could get shot by Secret Service if she didn't cooperate.

Here's a short video, which Benson began filming on her camera as officers started arguing with her. She kept it running for about a minute and a half until the battery died. Regan says things only got worse after that. It's too dark to see much of anything in the footage, but the audio is quite clear.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tells a different story than Benson in its official reports. Documents maintain that she was purposely causing a scene at the end of the rally and officers had to restrain her when she tried to violate a Secret Service order to keep the crowd in a certain area while Romney's motorcade left D'Evelyn Junior/Senior High School, where the Republican presidential nominee had been speaking.

Benson, who does public education advocacy work, has gotten attention in the past for various free speech efforts. In February, she clashed with the Colorado Board of Education over the expulsion of her son, who'd earlier gotten into trouble for wearing a shirt that said "Border Patrol." Previously, another of Benson's sons made headlines after he was arrested and suspended for wearing a "Nobama" shirt at a Michelle Obama event. The ACLU represented the teen in this last case, ultimately winning a settlement.

Regan Benson image.jpg
Courtesy of Regan Benson
Regan Benson
Now, Benson is arguing that the sheriff's office seriously mistreated her -- refusing to let her get to her car and ultimately roughing her up for no justifiable reason.

After the rally, the crowd of thousands definitely created a confusing and somewhat chaotic bottleneck trying to exit the premises. Yours truly witnessed dozens of people hopping a fence to try and get out of the main section and make their way to their cars. But even after doing so, these people were still temporarily boxed in by officers, who told folks that they couldn't pass until Romney's motorcade left. Once it did, the crowd was free to walk through the parking lot to their cars.

We didn't witness Benson's confrontation, which probably occurred before we got to the other side of the fence.

"I'm still in shock," says Benson, 39. "This is insane."

Benson, who was at the rally with a younger son, age fourteen, and her friend Jen Raiffie, says the confrontation began as they were trying to get past officers en route to their car.

"It was just a wall of people. We walked through...and one deputy sheriff tried to stop me," she says. "He said, 'You're not going anywhere.'"

She says another deputy told her pretty much the same thing, then "threw his body into me to back me up."

A deputy told her she had to cooperate or she would be placed in cuffs. "I said, 'You have no reason to put me in handcuffs!'" she recalls.

The audio in the blurry video reveals a dramatic, and loud, confrontation. In the clip, an officer repeatedly tells her that she has to step back and she says, "I'm going to my car."

Then she says, "Get your hands off of me. Get your hands off of me!"

"You stand over here or you're going in handcuffs," a female officer says to her. "It's your choice."

The officer then counts to three before telling Benson to put her hands behind her back and starts to put her in handcuffs.

"You're like five minutes away from leaving," an officer says to her when Benson asks why they are holding people like this.

Some people are heard on the video shouting, "Let her go!"

At one point Benson shouts, "You don't have any reason to restrain me!"

"Yes, we do!" the officer says.

"No, you don't!" Benson shouts back. "Let me go! I want to go to my car!"

"It's either this or you could get shot by the Secret Service," an officer says to her, which seems to only escalate the tensions.

"Get shot? I could get shot?" Benson asks loudly, prompting a "Yes, ma'am" from the officer.

That's when the video cuts out.

Continue for the rest of Benson's story and the official response from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.



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30 comments
dasunada
dasunada

Guess what comes around goes around,the judge needs to throw the book at her and give her a hefty fine,along with raising two ignorant teenagers that think that its ok to rebel and shame your family..... This woman is no good for society and she doesn't have a leg to stand on when she is up to no good,and slams our justice system and school system.... Put her on trial and throw eggs at her then belittle her so she will feel the wrath that society feels against her

Jon_S
Jon_S

What a nutjob. Waylaid for 30 whole minutes after bringing this entire situation upon herself, what a tragedy!!! Cry me an effin' river.

springr
springr

 @jraiffie Looking at your Twitter, you hate everybody. You want to cause trouble for everybody. That is not being an activist, that is being a bully.  Like I said, you have to live with your anger. Does the name James Holmes mean anything to you.

springr
springr

 @jraiffie  Wow, you are one of the nicest, sweetest most polite people I have met on WestWord in a long time. You should be so proud of yourself.  A little internet research on you shows that you and Benson have some kind of relationship going.  I'm just saying what I read on the internet about you. According to the videos you post on YouTube you got some huge anger issues.I bet you have some lousy days with all that anger you are carrying around.  When you go looking for a fight, like you apparently do, you are going to get one and then wonder why no one likes you.

jraiffie
jraiffie

@singr you are a selfish, clueless, idiot, blind and living in la la land while activist fight for protecting the freedoms you enjoy. Jeffco had too much attitude, used too much force, and violated our rights. They forget whom they work for and they demanded respect while showing none. And don't think jeffco sheriff walls are sound proof... They are actually very thin. If you are such an avid researcher, then you would know much more than you portray. Either you are full of **it or don't know **it. My guess, it's both

springr
springr

SheilahT, I'm just a loyal Westword reader and an avid internet researcher. No connection to anyone. BUT, it sounds like you are buds with the touble maker, oops I mean "activist." By the way, it would make sense that county law enforcement aren't out policing political events because they have too much time on their hands, they probably  have no choice.  They probably lose money on the deal too. I have no connection to any police or sheriffs, just a guess on my part.

SheilahT
SheilahT

People should have a right to get involved in their communities without harassment from public officials. Harassment by law enforcement happens to many people who stick their necks out in an attempt to research tax issues and pass on what they know to their fellow citizens.  

 

Is it possible that the Jeffco Sheriff's office has too much money and time on its hands since it can find the resources to harass an activist?  Too much power and money corrupts. 

springr
springr

I'm laughing out loud. If this doesn't convince you that this woman is mentally unbalanced then read the hundreds of harassing letters she has written to the Jefferson County School Board. You can see them on their webpage. On YouTube she has posted her own videos showing her harassing  Sheriff Ted Minks, the school board and government employees. She apparently works hard at setting up scenarios, like the one shown here, so she can sue people. She has the history. Do an internet search on her name like I did, it is unbelievable.

jraiffie
jraiffie

#sheeple, quick to obey and to judge, continue to standby and let your rights erode. Romney was well protected by secret service, tsa, jeffco, lakewood, and csp. If they had a clue, they would have better planned instead instead of hearing people like cattle and violating their rights. #sheeple, can't even post under your real names. I was there. Jeffco even threatened issuing me a ticked for dropping the f-bomb. Wake up.

iLoveColorado
iLoveColorado

Stay classy, Regan.  You go to "plaid" in an instant and start haranguing the authorities for trying to do their job of helping to protect Mr. Romney?  I also love that you complain about taxpayer money being wasted.  Well, how much of our money did you waste via the time and effort the deputies had to expend regarding your little tirade because you refused to wait 5 minutes to get to your vehicle?  Hypocrite.  Might want to consider some counseling for anger management.

jmpmk2
jmpmk2

Wait, a republican acting like a selfish, entitled asshole? 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Way, WAY, for Magnate Romney!

winnipegal21
winnipegal21

LOL. She sounds like a piece of work. Real classy.

JeffcoResident
JeffcoResident

Given the choice of believing the Jeffco Sheriff's office or this serial rabble-rouser/lawsuit-filer, I think I'll go with the Jeffco Sheriff's office. Sheriff Ted Mink is about to be term-limited out of office, and in all that time he has never developed a reputation for anything but being fair and competent. Maybe she should try her antics again in the City and County of Denver to see if she can score a quick settlement.

jraiffie
jraiffie

@springr just RINOs, people who claim to be what they are not, moochers, and those who threaten my rights and freedoms. Grow a pair, I'm not the one with issues. Stop hiding your identity and come out from behind your computer. You wouldn't know the first thing about activism, would you #sheeple.

jraiffie
jraiffie

@springr have, you. I was right... A little of both. Hey genius, duh. My name was only printed in the blog above. You don't like my videos on God, putting students first, and American patriotism.... sounds like I'm not the one with issues. Why hide behind your login? Scared we all might confirm what I already know about you?

jraiffie
jraiffie

@springr have, you. I was right... A little of both. Hey genius, duh. My name was only printed in the blog above. You don't like my videos on God, putting students first, and American patriotism.... sounds like I'm not the one with issues.

SheilahT
SheilahT

 @springr  Do you work for Jeffco?  I'll bet you do or someone close to you makes their living from this county on some level. 

jraiffie
jraiffie

Oops, that would be herding people like cattle

jraiffie
jraiffie

@iLoveColorado fighting authorities who disregard and disrespect your rights is money well spent.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @JeffcoResident Get out of line in JeffCo, get shot, or at the least arrested -- makes sense to me.  Yours is, after all, a county with a vast, bloated law enforcement establishment, an enormous jail, a Taj Mahal of punitive bureaucrats and police-functionaries next door to it, and a District Attorney who scours the Internet looking for sex offenders to import to Colorado, to try and incarcerate them at taxpayer expense.  I am given to understand that Jefferson County leads the nation in its per capita rate of incarceration -- is this true?

SheilahT
SheilahT

 @BackOffImStarving  @winnipegal21  And where did you get your psych degree?  Or are people who honor freedom of speech considered nut jobs in your little world? 

 

Just curious.... 

JeffcoResident
JeffcoResident

 @RobertChase Quit trolling, Robert. If you think holding people for five minutes for security reasons while a presidential candidate is exiting the premises is unreasonable, just say so. But attacking the county for having a police department, a jail, and a DA who prosecutes pedophiles who attempt to solicit Jeffco minors seems a little silly. And the media reports I just looked at show Philadelphia County (PA), Davidson County (TN), Shelby County (TN), and Polk County (FL) have the highest incarceration rates. Nice try trolling there, though.

jraiffie
jraiffie

@RustyShackleford @JeffcoResident @RobertChase the hold was for a lot longer than five minutes. I was trapped with no egress along with thousands for over 30 minutes. It was not safe and should have been handled differently.

RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

 @JeffcoResident  @RobertChase "If you think holding people for five minutes for security reasons while a presidential candidate is exiting the premises is unreasonable, just say so."

 

Which wouldn't even be necessary if Rmoney and crew would stop trying to infuriate the populace at every possible opportunity.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

 @JeffcoResident I acknowledge the need for police, judges, and jails, but your county and this country need far fewer of them -- the scale of Jefferson County's law enforcement establishment is disproportionate to the County's needs.  It is a sad fact that the country that touts itself as "the land of the free" in reality leads the entire world in incarceration.  The United States has become the Land of Prisons.  Let anyone who considers themselves a patriot ponder how we turned our country into the antithesis of our founding ideals and resolve to overthrow American fascism.

 

No political figure not talking about how we should drastically reform our criminal injustice system holds any interest for me -- that certainly includes the candidates of the Greater and Lesser Fascist Parties who keep returning to plague Colorado.  I am glad to hear that  Jefferson County is not among the very worst combatants against Americans' liberty, but you have a long way to go -- after you decide to become free.

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