A former Central Intelligence Agency analyst is suing two GW police officers for wrongfully arresting and assaulting him after he blocked the view of audience members during a Hillary Clinton speech on campus in 2011.
Raymond McGovern, a U.S. Army veteran who helped write daily briefs for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, is suing Sgt. Christopher Brown and Capt. Michael Glaubach for allegedly violating his right to peacefully protest.
The 74-year-old Virginia resident claims police should not have charged him with disorderly conduct because he did not “threaten a breach of the peace,” according to the complaint filed Feb. 13.
Then-Secretary of State Clinton came to campus Feb. 15, 2011 to speak about Internet freedom after political protests broke out in Egypt. McGovern, wearing a “Veterans for Peace” shirt, stood in the audience with his back turned to Clinton for several minutes. He claims his “silent protest” in Jack Morton Auditorium was against Clinton’s foreign policy tactics.
Brown approached McGovern, who was 71 at the time, and asked him to leave. But McGovern said he suffers from hearing loss and did not hear the officer’s command.
He alleges that Brown grabbed his arm and jerked him sideways, making him fall into other members of the audience. Glaubach then grabbed him around the neck and twisted his head into a headlock, according to court documents.
McGovern yelled “This is America” and “You’re breaking my arm” as the officers handcuffed him, which he said bruised his wrists.
He argues the physical assault “was completely without legal cause, justification or excuse, and was objectively unreasonable and excessive given the circumstances.”
When McGovern told the officers he needed medical attention for his wrists, he said he was ridiculed by an officer for the bleeding, which he said caused swelling for weeks after the arrest.
Metropolitan Police Department officers took McGovern to the Second District station, where they held him for a few hours before releasing him with a citation for disorderly conduct. He then went to the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va. to treat his injuries.
McGovern retired from the CIA in 1990, earning the Intelligence Commendation Medal before becoming a political activist.
McGovern is also suing former University Police Department officer Jamie Barton, who processed his arrest but no longer works for UPD.
He asserts that he has suffered from “loss of liberty, deprivation of constitutional rights, emotional distress, and physical and non-physical injuries.”
University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar declined to comment on the case, citing GW’s policy to not comment on pending litigation. UPD Chief Kevin Hay also declined to comment. The State Department declined to comment through a spokeswoman.
Brown, who has worked for the University since 2005, was suspended for 20 days about two years ago after he detained three male students suspected of smoking marijuana in Triangle Park, which is beyond UPD’s jurisdiction.
McGovern also claims that after his arrest he “was interrogated about his political activities” by the State Department, which conducted a seven-month-long investigation into his work with Veterans for Peace and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
McGovern is also suing GW, claiming the University was violating his rights to demonstrate.
He is asking the court to compel the State Department to remove its “be on the lookout” alert, which allows law enforcement officers to question him on sight, and make GW expunge McGovern’s arrest records. He is also demanding compensation from Brown, Glaubach, Barton and the University.