Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo was ejected from a rally and threatened with incarceration for Donald Trump after he filmed attendees leaving the event early.
A Trump campaign official named Justin said something about needing to go to the media pen and Mayo declined. Justin, the campaign official said Mayo couldn’t film, who then chuckled, saying of course I could, seeing as how hundreds if not thousands of other attendees were doing the same thing. The Trump campaign official said Mayo would have to leave, and that they’d need to see law enforcement.
“Tell him we’re trespassing him,” the Trump campaign official told a deputy. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
The campaign official told Mayo to walk with him to talk to a law enforcement officer. Sgt. John Sluth for an explanation on why he had to leave.
“This is not a public park,” Sgt. Sluth said. “Tonight [this amphitheater] is rented by the Donald Trump campaign and they are the ones who say who can come or go … It’s just like if you go to the BB&T Center and a representative from the Florida Panthers comes up and tells you that you have to leave, you have to leave.”
According to Mayo when he appeared on All In With Chris Hayes:
There was no rules or attachment, any guidelines attached to that ticket saying you can’t do this, or they didn’t ask me about if I was a newspaper person. I just showed up, went through the metal detectors like everybody else and was roaming around the crowd. And actually, the crowd everybody in the general admission crowd was using their phones to take photos and videos and was actually encouraged to post to social media by the campaign people and the warm up rallies, they even gave a special hashtag for the event. So they’re encouraging everybody to use their phones, to use social media tweet, Facebook and I did the same.
(h/t Sun Sentinel)
Mayo was able to get inside but was treated differently, singled out and targeted for ejection. It could have been because, as a reporter at a Trump event, he was not standing in a specially-barricaded “media pen” that credentialed media for the event were restricted to. As with the case with other attendees at the Boca Raton event, it could very well have been the color of his skin.
I did not try to get a media credential for the event. In my mind, there was no need to. I wasn’t writing on deadline, I didn’t have my computer, and I didn’t require any special access. I hadn’t agreed to any special ground rules or conditions, and I was simply doing the same thing that hundreds, if not thousands, of other attendees were doing.
I just wanted to be an Average Joe, free to mingle with my fellow South Floridians and experience this event like 6,000 others. As a columnist I often do things that way. It’s the exact same way I covered a Marco Rubio campaign rally on Super Tuesday (March 1) at Tropical Park in Miami.
I had no hassles or issues there.
But with Trump, as many people are finding out, things are different
It is important to note that, since Donald Trump is not the United States government, the First Amendment protection for peaceful assembly does not apply. Even though it was on public property, when the government leases public property for an event space, the private lessee may legally exclude individuals. Individuals can be ordered off the property and be arrested for trespassing if they do not comply. The Trump campaign was well within their legal rights to exclude whoever they wish.