Was to Attend State of the Union Address! Was Already Seated in Gallery When Arrested by Capitol Police!
EXCLUSIVE DETAILS...'T-Shirt' Story Confirmed by AP...Media Fighting over Sheehan for Morning Show Appearances...Protesters Rallying for Sheehan's Release...Police push protesters away from Capitol...Sheehan Finally Released, Says She was 'Roughed Up...PHOTO OF THE 'T-SHIRT' FINALLY...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2006, 5:52pm PT  

CNN is now reporting...

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan --- who was invited to attend President Bush's State of the Union speech --- has been arrested, Capitol police say.

Invited by Rep. Lynn Woosley [sic] (D-CA) to attend the State of the Union, reports are that she was arrested inside the Capitol chamber.

MORE... 9:08p ET - CNN's "Breaking News" banner announcing the arrest at their website now removed, shortly after CNN reported arrest on air. No further news available currently at their site on the arrest...

9:14p ET - AP reports on CNN's report. Says, "Activist Cindy Sheehan Arrested at Capitol".

9:30p ET - The BRAD BLOG has confirmed the arrest moments ago with David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org.

According to Swanson, Sheehan was "arrested for wearing the shirt she was wearing all day, which had the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq...She was lifted out of her seat [in the Capitol Chamber gallery] by the Capitol Police and taken away."

Swanson told The BRAD BLOG moment ago that Sheehan is "now under arrest and lockup by Capitol Police." He confirmed that moments ago with Gael Murphy, a co-founder of CodePink, an organization which has been working Sheehan. Murphy spoke by cell with Sheehan after the arrest, and they are currently arranging for an attorney for her.

"This not the Park Police," said Swanson. "We're used to getting arrested by them. This was the Capitol Police....She didn't even want to go to the speech, she said she couldn't stand to listen to Bush, but she went. She didn't even protest, she was just wearing the same shirt she'd be wearing all day, a black shirt with the number of troops killed. It was already 'out of date' and she had to add 3 more to the previous number."

9:40p ET - Reports we are receiving are in conflict with AP's updated report that Sheehan had a protest banner prepared to be unfurled. It was, according to our sources, her T-Shirt which seems to be the given reason for her arrest... According to AP:

A Capitol police official reportedly said Sheehan had unfurled a banner, which is a violation of House rules.

We cannot confirm the "banner" reports, and have been told by several sources the arrest was due to the T-Shirt she was wearing after already being allowed into the Capitol chamber where Bush was to deliver his State of the Union address just moments later...

Cindy Sheehan's son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

9:50p ET - Reuters confirms arrest. Few details given.

9:55p ET - Photo of the arrest from Reuters...

10:02p ET - CNN files its story. Sticks to "banner" reporting:

WASHINGTON (CNN) --- Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House chamber after she unfurled an anti-war banner before President Bush's State of the Union address.

Capitol police arrested Sheehan and questioned her for about an hour in a separate area of the House, a senior House official said.

Sheehan, who became a vocal war opponent after her son was killed in Iraq, was an invited guest of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-California, who has called for a withdrawal of troops in Iraq and supports legislation for the creation of a Department of Peace.

10:20p ET - AP updates their report. Confirms original exclusive BRAD BLOG report that it was a T-Shirt, not a banner that led to Sheehan's arrest:

[Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly] Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived.

10:39p ET - Sheehan still in jail, Morning Shows "fighting over her"...

David Swanson, in D.C. tells The BRAD BLOG that Sheehan is still in jail. Swanson had been previously arrested along with Sheehan at earlier protests.

He tells us, "Attorneys are trying to get her out. Media is fighting over here...Today Show, Good Morning America, they all want her...but she has to get out of jail first."

11:30p ET - Bob Fertik reports:

There are 200 protesters standing outside the Capitol Police HQ between 1st and 2nd on D St NE (between Hart SOB and Union Station). They are chanting and demanding Cindy's release. Tell the DC media to cover the protest!

He also suggests...

Call the White House Comment Line 202-456-1111,1,1 and express your outrage that the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested for wearing a t-shirt with the number of soldiers killed in Iraq!!!!!

11:49p ET - Village Voice has more on Sheehan's recent arrests, including this evening's.

11:54p ET - CNN's Ed Henry finally corrects their report and confirms it was a T-shirt that was the reason for Sheehan's arrest.

He just reported during Anderson Cooper:

"She entered the gallery wearing a shirt with some sort of anti-war slogan...they were afraid she was going to do something with it in front of the cameras".

What, like wear it? The only opinions allowed in the people's Capitol tonight are George W. Bush's, we guess.

Here's another opinion on the "State of the Union" from outside the capitol tonight.

12:05a ET - Police Surround HQ to fend off Protesters... More from Fertik...

David Swanson reports by phone on the scene: During the protest in front of the Capitol Police HQ, 2-3 dozen police locked arms and pushed the crowd across the street. A protester named James from World Can't Wait was arrested for chanting "Free Cindy Now" with a megaphone. As the police grabbed the megaphone, they hit a woman protester in the head, but she is ok. They also kicked Aliska from World Can't Wait in the head, and she required treatment in an ambulance before she was released. Cindy is now being taken to the Central Processing Center in Judiciary Square, and the crowd is following her.

World Can't Wait is an organization that held a protest near the Reflection Pond on the elipse today, calling for Bush to step down.

12:18a ET - MSNBC now has an online poll on whether the Capitol Police should have arrested Sheehan for wearing a T-shirt. Go register your opinion...

12:22a ET - SHEEHAN FINALLY RELEASED! SAYS SHE WAS "ROUGHED UP"...According to Fertik who is in touch with David Swanson...

David reports Cindy has just been released. She was filmed by 3 networks and answered a few quick questions and mentioned she was "roughed up" - David said she looked tired and frustrated. She went off to sleep and will appear on the Today show in the morning.

12:44a ET- NBC reports the shirt in violation of the "law" read: "2,245 Dead - How Many More??"

Attytood points out:

Did you know that in 1971, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to arrest a man who wore a "F--- the Draft" T-shirt into the courthouse? (Cohen v. California, you can look it up.) So now Alito's on the court for 45 minutes and your civil liberties are already going down the toilet. You were warned.

1:21a ET - MBare gets the money shot!

Note the hand-corrected number on the shirt, as we reported previously, since 3 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq since Sheehan put the short on earlier today.

Mbare points out that moments later, in Bush's speech, just after Sheehan's arrest, he said (without a hint of irony):

"Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer --- so we will act boldly in freedom's cause. Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time.

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it.
We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it."

So will we, Mr. "President"...

2:41am ET - David Swanson, now safe and sound back home, has details and more photos of both Sheehan wearing the shirt earlier in the day, as well as VR's Impeachment Truck (NOTE: Who is that debonair gent behind Sheehan in this photo? ;-)

3:13am ET - One final thought for tonight. Also with a hat-tip to MBare...

U.S. Constitution: First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Good night America.

NEXT DAY UPDATE: More on Sheehan's arrest, her own words, and the Republican Congressman's wife who was asked to leave for wearing her own T-shirt in support of the troops now posted here...

MORE UPDATE: Acceptable State of the Union protest...

FURTHER UPDATE: Capitol Cops admit they "Screwed up"! NBC reports they will be dropping all charges!

NOTE: We've now restored the Comment link that we had to temporarily turn off previously while this site was getting pounded with hits, making it impossible to update the item. Thanks for your understanding.