It’s hardly a surprise that Republican officials in New Hampshire would throw a 15-year-old out of a political event for doing nothing other than shooting video. But there is no excuse for police officers going along with their outrageous demand.
According to Samantha J. Gross of The Boston Globe, Quinn Mitchell, an aspiring journalist who’s become something of a celebrity for asking tough questions of presidential candidates, was escorted out of a political event at the behest of party officials in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Friday — apparently because someone didn’t like his recording videos of a longshot presidential candidate.
“They told me I was being a disruption,” Mitchell was quoted as saying. “I was taking a video like anybody else.” He added that five officers were involved in removing him from the Sheraton Nashua hotel.
Quinn said that a party official told him he was being kicked out because he had a reputation for disrupting events. No doubt that official was referring to Mitchell’s journalism, which can indeed be disruptive because he does it the right way. Earlier this summer Quinn asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, “Do you believe that Trump violated the peaceful transfer of power, a key principle of American democracy that we must uphold?” He also asked former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a born-again Never Trumper, whether Hillary Clinton would have been a better choice than Donald Trump in 2016.
Although Mitchell was reportedly back in the hall Friday an hour after his removal, the incident led to a story in The New York Times. It also leads to an important question: Should police officers who work for the public go along with a demand to remove a teenager — or anyone — from an event simply because he was exercising his First Amendment rights? The answer, quite obviously, is no, and it really doesn’t matter whether the officers were on the taxpayers’ dime or if they were being paid as part of a private detail. (The Times reported that it tried and failed to get a comment from the Nashua police department.)
For that, police officers who removed Mitchell from the hotel have earned a New England Muzzle Award.