Congressional Candidate Brouillet Arrested Weekend Before Election

From Palo Alto Online:

Congressional candidate Carol Brouillet was arrested Saturday, June 2, after failing to show up for a court appearance, which stemmed from a civil-disobedience action outside Lockheed Martin, according to Palo Alto police.

Brouillet, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 14th District, was taken into custody outside her Palo Alto home on June 2 at about 8:47 p.m., she confirmed.

The Green Party candidate, who has run on a freedom-of-speech and corporate-accountability platform, said City of Sunnyvale police first arrested her and four other people on April 6. The group was arrested for blocking the street in front of defense-systems corporation Lockheed Martin, located at 1111 Lockheed Martin Way in Sunnyvale. They were protesting nuclear weapons production, she said.

Brouillet has taken part in civil disobedience since the 1990s, and has been arrested during passive protests numerous times in Berkeley and Livermore, including with anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg, she said. But in most other instances, she and others were given citations and sent on their way.

“I have never been through what I went through before,” she said of her experience in Santa Clara County’s correctional facility. She hadn’t intended to miss her court date, she said.

On the day of her Sunnyvale arrest, Brouillet said she had been precinct walking for her campaign when she learned that an old friend was taking part in the protest at Lockheed.

“I just couldn’t resist doing civil disobedience,” she said.

After their arrest, Brouillet and friends were given a May 18 court-appearance date, but she sought to have the date changed. She was supposed to appear in court on May 30, but when she didn’t show up the judge issued a bench warrant.

“I was so busy campaigning that I forgot and missed the court date,” she said.

Brouillet said she went to the court after receiving the bench warrant, and a clerk gave her another date to appear on June 15. But when she came home on Saturday night, the police drove past her home. The officer made a U-turn and then arrested her, she said.

“We had the most delightful conversation on the way to jail,” she said, adding the officer said she was the nicest person he had ever arrested.

“I think he might vote for me.”

This was the first time Brouillet has sat in a cell at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, she said. The experience was also an eye opener.

“It was really awful,” she said, adding that it took 14 hours to process her. She posted $10,000 bail. “I didn’t realize that Sunnyvale was so harsh on exercising First Amendment rights,” she said.

Her personal experience was an example of why she is running for office, she said of the importance of exercising free speech. She now has three court dates in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto.

But there is a bright side.

“The nice thing about doing this in Palo Alto is I can bicycle there,” she said.

Ronald Hardy

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