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As you may seen, individuals associated with the Tea Party protests are claiming a man named Kenneth Gladney was brutally beaten by SEIU folks. His laywer says

Kenneth was approached by an SEIU representative as Kenneth was handing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags to other conservatives. The SEIU representative demanded to know why a black man was handing out these flags. The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman. The three men were clearly SEIU members, as they were wearing T-shirts with the SEIU logo.

Kenneth was beaten badly.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of this

The first is that none of what is claimed in the statement is supported by the video available. The claims by Gadney's lawyer could have happened prior to the footage we have seen. However, it would STILL BE contradicted by the footage we have. Gladney is clear-headed and unmarked, showing no signs of being brutally beaten and kicked to the head.

I have watched the youtube video a few times closely.  Here's what I can see and what I hear.  A lot goes on in the first ten seconds. I tried to track people's movements in that first 10 seconds.  No casual viewing will let you know what is happening.  Also the audio is unclear with multiple people shouting AND a lot of dialogue that was not clear when I listened on computer speakers.  I have pair of very sensitive Sennheisher studio headphones and I picked up a lot of extra detail in the audio, the next few times I listened.

  1.  The video begins and a black man in a blue shirt is on the ground. This is an SEIU supporter. He seems to be the same man who at 25 secs in, its saying "where's my peeps" and holding his shoulder.  He seems to be the injured party in this encounter. This man is apparently Elston Cowan, [edit:McCowan] a minister and union supporter.
  1.  It's very hard to see this, but there is a second man on the ground, This is Gladney.  You see his hand on the curb and he gets up very quickly. No one is kicking or punching him.  In fact a woman is a grey shirt is standing calmly next to him. She gets uncalm in a second.
  1. Gladney starts moving towards the man on the ground. In fact a woman in a white jacket holding a clipboard, holds his arm back.
  1.  A guy with a ponytail who is a looks like Union supporter stands over the man in the blue shirt.  It seems like he is preventing any further attacks on the man.  Significantly, he makes no move towards Gladney, even after Gladney goes down a second time.  No kicks, no punches, he doesn't even lay hands on the guy. That is, he was in a defensive position, protecting the man on the ground
  1.  As Gladney is being held back by the woman and the man above is protecting the first man on the ground, a white SEIU supporter in a blue ballcap comes in and yanks Gladney back away from the man on the ground. Gladney and this man both tumble.  It's significant that he is white.  It's significant that he doesn't seem involved in the original scuffle.
  1.  Again, Gladney spends about a second on the floor and is not kicked, punched or touched.
  1.  The woman in the white coat who held Gladney's arm, steps in front of the man in the ball cap.  In both sequences, she seems to be preventing further escalation.
  1.  We're about ten seconds in something interesting occurred.  The calm woman in the grey shirt turns and yells at the guy in the ballcap.  I believe she is the one saying "Asshole."
  1.  About 12 secs in the man in a white polo starts screaming at the man in the ballcap, "You attacked him."

Points 8 and 9 are very significant.  These two people both react very strongly to Gladney being pulled to the ground, but do not care about the first man on the ground.  The video shows no punching, no kicking and no brutal beating. If that had ocurred, it would have to have happened before the video begins.  Yet, these two people are not very upset in the beginning of the video. Also, there is a lot of yelling, but nothing like a crowd watching a man be brutally kicked in the head.

11 Let's jump ahead to about 1:15 in, Gladney has found his way back to video camera and the cameraman asks what happened.  
  Gladney: That guy attacked me.
  Camerman: Which guy?
  Gladney:  The black guy.

So the black guy on the floor attacked him first as part of a brutal beating, but these two people get most upset at Gladney being yanked down.  WHY?  I submit that the video catches the most violent action that occurred against Gladney.  No punching, no kicks, the worst he suffered was a tumble to the ground,  that he gets up from quickly.

Once Gladney tumbles an interesting thing happens. The man in the white polo starts making his case.  Not reacting like someone witnessing a melee, or in fact involved in a melee, but like acting for the camera.  Why do I say involved?  Because if we watch his actions closely we see right after the video begins, he comes over to the man on the ground

  1. Right after the video begins, we see him come over and lays his hands on him. It's very brief, but it seems like he pulls the man by his shoulder.  
  1. After a pause of a few seconds, at 12 seconds in The man in the white polo starts making his case.  "You attacked that guy.....UNINTELLIGIBLE...you're going to jail."
  1.  00:45

   White Polo:  You attacked that guy for nothing
   Ball Cap:  No, I didn't attack him for nothing.  He hit Elston.  Elston's a damn minister idiot.
....
   White Polo: Two of you guys attacked that poor guy.
   Ball Cap:  No we didn't.  He attacked a minister.

So the as-it-happens evidence is the Union folks claim Gadney started it.  (could be self-serving, could be he didn't see how it started, etc, however, he did not witness Gadney getting a brutal beating.

  1. The woman in the white coat from earlier and a man in tan shirt seem to be trying to determine what happened.  Police are on their way.  They are talking to Gladney, he does not mentioning, punching or kicking the quote is "What the hell is wrong with you?  Why did you hit me, why did you hit my hand.
  1.  Gladney: Where the police at?

    (sounds like Elston): Is he going to protect me?  Cmon' now

  1.   Gladney (walking towards camera, low voice): I'm going to beat the shit of out of that guy, if I catch him again
  1.   When Gladney is talking to the cameraman, in the background white polo is yelling Socialist, deadbeats, sit around and betray the country.
  1.   Around two minutes in some weird stuff happens and the camera doesn't capture it.  Someone yells, he just hit her, he just hit her.  Then a woman yells "Did you just hit me? Did you just hit me?"  This woman is immediately handcuffed by the police. IT'S THE SAME WOMAN IN THE GREY SHIRT  who yelled asshole. She was standing next to the guy with the ponytail, real close.  As the police lead her way she says "He just hit me! They got it on tape!"  It would truly strange behavior he the man with the ponytail did hit her, because he didn't react violently before, so why would he now with cops all over the place?

This also lends credence to the fact these people were performing for the camera.  Also the fact that the cop immediately handcuffed her, leads me to believe he saw what happened and the WOMAN HIT the guy she accused.

2:35 Gladney: This man here, he attacked me.
    Ball Cap says, I did not attack you. You Attacked Elston. I pulled you off Elston.

The cops then handcuff Ball Cap Man who says; "But I didn't attack him what are you doing?....I didn't attack him I took him off Elston."

None of the video suggests a brutal beating.  Gladney and his attorney seem to be making this worse by the day.  They went on two fox news interviews the day after this happen and Gladney seem fine.  The day after that Gladney showed up to a Tea Party protest in a wheelchair and claimed he was too weak to speak.

Originally posted to KevinNYC on Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 05:58 AM PDT.

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