CA-50: Sheriffs Raid Busby Fundraiser
An exceedingly strange story out of the San Diego area.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a fundraiser for Francine Busby, who previously ran for the deeply-Republican Fiftieth District (editor's note: it's not that deeply Republican, Obama won here 51-47) and came close to winning in the 2006 special election and subsequent regular election, was raided by sheriffs after an unnamed neighbor made a noise complaint. Busby now calls it a "phony" noise complaint, and the article says that multiple neighbors said there was no great noise at all.
Here's the twist: The fundraiser was hosted by a lesbian couple, and shortly before the sheriffs came a particular neighbor had shouted anti-gay slurs at the assembled crowd. "It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes," Busby says.
As one neighbor told the paper: "We didn't hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter."
The sheriff's department claims that somebody kicked an officer. By the time it was over, multiple people were pepper-sprayed, one of the hostesses was arrested, and the whole neighborhood got to see quite a scene.
One of the officers defended the department's conduct -- turning the blame on the candidate: "The place got out of hand. If Francine Busby was there, why not take a leadership role, step up, and nip this thing in the bud?"
There's more detail at this Daily Kos diary from arodb, who was there. I like the part where the police department blames Francine Busby for their own failure to recognize that no noise violation was taking place inside the fundraiser.
I'm trying to get some more information from the campaign, will bring it when I have it.
UPDATE: TPMDC interviews Francine Busby about this incident, and basically, she singles out the homophobic heckler for creating the noise that brought the cops to the scene:
"You could hear his voice very clearly, it was loud. But as far as the actual words, I didn't hear them," Busby explained. "I heard my name, and obviously derogatory words. Other people heard profanity, and somebody heard something about gays, as well." It should be noted that the event was hosted by a lesbian couple.
"The deputies were telling people that they were taking statements from, that the call came in about noise from a Democratic rally, or Democratic demonstration," said Busby. In fact, she said, she had last spoken at about 8:30 p.m., and the police arrived an hour later when most of the attendees had left. "It was a nuisance-noise call, because there was no noise, and the fact that it was described as a Democratic rally or demonstration indicates to me that this person was calling for his own political motives."
The LA Times reports that the San Diego County Sheriff's Department will open an investigation into the incident, particularly the use of pepper spray.