Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintrich Cleared of Charges Following UConn First Amendment Dust-Up

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/12/11/gateway-pundits-lucian-wintrich-cleared-of-charges-following-uconn-first-amendment-dust-up/

Lucian Wintrich, the White House correspondent for the Donald Trump-friendly Gateway Pundit website arrested by police after he grappled with a woman who had stolen pages of his prepared remarks at the University of Connecticut last month, is a free man.

Additionally, the state of Connecticut on Monday dropped the breach-of-peace charge that State Police slapped Wintrich with, and has charged the Quinebaug Valley Community College adviser who took away Wintrich’s notes before attempting to make a dash for the exits with larceny and disorderly conduct charges. 

The incident occurred during a raucous appearance by Wintrich at his highly charged “It’s O.K. To Be White” speaking event on Tuesday, November 28.

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Updated 6:15 p.m. to include comments from Wintrich

“I was attempting to give a speech,” Wintrich said. “Listen, this is definitely a first. I’ve watched these same events that have involved my peers but I’ve never seen security stand down while a speech was stolen.

“Had I known before the event, that the one guy on the security staff bragged on Facebook that he wasn’t going to defend me, I don’t know if I would have gone forward with it.”

Wintrich’s comments are focused on the 62-year-old campus security guard named Mark Loomis, tasked with overseeing security of the event. Wintrich mentioned Loomis in several social media posts following the incident:

Loomis later spoke to WFSB-3, Hartford’s CBS affiliate, claiming he was misunderstood:

“Really looked to me like he was trying to get people as angry as he could,” Loomis told the network. 

Wintrich reflected on Loomis’s comments during phone interview with the NewBostonPost:

“It’s wild, it’s absolutely wild,” he said. “‘Stand down’ was basically what I took from it. The brazenness of bragging of not intending to do it, yet he was hired to work security for the event — me — and he’s basically like, ‘me, protect him?’ 
 
Regarding the incident at the heart of Wintrich’s UConn appearance:
 
“This attempted theft of my speech was after 40 minutes of her and these agitators riling the crowd. The volume on our PA system was barely listenable. That’s what we’re discussing right now (he said of his talks with Pattis, his attorney). The real trick here is whatever actions we take, we need to guarantee things like this won’t happen again.” 
 
“The bigotry against varying opinions is absolutely and utterly disgusting to me,” Wintrich added. “They were trying to claim I’m a Nazi, but my grandfather was a colonel in the Polish resistance.”
 
Wintrich, asked if he expected the kind of reception he received:
 
“Not really, I expected to have some people try to engage me during the question-and-answer session, but that never came — there were windows broken, smoke-bombs going off, we never got to that point — you know, if they have a counter-viewpoint then all means share it. I’m pretty pragmatic. One of the major points of my speech was about this bias in the media, where there are double-standards, based on this intersectionality game. The last line of my speech — which I never got to say — was to ‘urge people and go out and be anti-racist.'”
 
Wintrich, asked if he thought the police treatment of him violated his constitutional rights:
 
“I think initially — I don’t think it necessarily did, but pushing me through that the door — yeah, my head hit that door, still, I’m not bruised or battered. Obviously I wasn’t wild about it. I was kind of shocked they would stand idly by while she stole my speech, and then arrest me, and not her. They didn’t even go to people who filmed it to double-check exactly what happened. Instead, they claimed it was for my protection.” 
 
Wintrich added that he spotted Loomis at his arraignment Monday. 
 
Asked if he had any final thoughts to add:
 
“When we’re presenting rational arguments that shut down their nonsensical propaganda we come out on top. They’re terrified of these speeches. It’s the University’s job to make sure these students are exposed to different viewpoints, and the attempted censorship of me was some of the most nonsensical stuff imaginable. I think the state prosecutor realized I acted in the right.”
 
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Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media, complete with two different narratives — one accusing Wintrich of assaulting the woman, identified as 33-year-old Catherine Gregory of Willimantic, and the other defending Wintrich’s efforts to retrieve stolen property:

Outside Rockville Superior Court in Vernon, Connecticut, Wintrich’s attorney, Norm Pattis, delivered a brief statement to the media, punctuated by the declaration that “this is the United States of America, not Nazi Germany — What happened at UConn the other night was shameful, and they will be hearing more from us in the not-too-distant future.” 

“Freedom of speech matters in this country,” Pattis, whose law practice is based in New Haven, added. “I’m happy to report that the young woman [Gregory] who stole my client’s notes has been arrested by way of a warrant over the weekend. We will be asking the court to impose some sort of brief period of incarceration in this case.”

Pattis continued:

“Free speech matters, it’s O.K. to be white, black, brown or anything in between. My client came to Connecticut and was treated like a criminal for no reason. He sought to obtain his notes back when they were stolen, by reasonable means, and the prosecution saw that. We would like to thank the local law enforcement officers at the scene, we disagree with their decision to arrest my client, but understand that given the mob mentality at UConn that night, there was a potential for further violence. Apparently officers had to negotiate with the crowd to get my client out of the building safely.”

Wintrich told reporters he thinks “justice was served.”

“I obviously think it’s wonderful that finally the system corrected itself. We don’t want to set a precedent where people can walk up to speeches they [find] disagreeable and steal them. That’s really not what America is about,” he said.

Asked by a reporter whether Wintrich “regrets that it [the incident] became physical in nature,” Pattis answered that “we have nothing to regret, the law permits the use of reasonable force to retrieve stolen property.”

“My client was a victim, the thief will be in court on Wednesday, we’ll be talking to her soon,” the lawyer said.

Pattis has not yet responded to voice mail messages left Monday afternoon by a New Boston Post reporter seeking further comment. Wintrich declined to indicate whether or not he intends to file a civil complaint against the university.

UConn College Republicans, the organization that invited Wintrich to speak, announced in a statement released via social media days after the November 28 incident that the event was designed to initiate “a discussion on identity politics.”

“We understand this is a controversial issue,” the group said. “We welcomed such discussion and planned to facilitate a lengthy question-and-answer period after Mr. Wintrich’s speech.

“We are disappointed in those that took action to prevent Mr. Wintrich from speaking because they simply disagreed with what he had to say.”

The organization posted a video of Wintrich’s November 28 appearance to its Facebook page. The video shows the portion before and during Wintrich’s talk, though the camera angle doesn’t capture the entire confrontation that led to Wintrich’s arrest.

The video is below (bad language warning): 

The episode has prompted UConn officials to update the school’s policy for inviting outside speakers.

“Going forward, the university will strengthen and enhance existing protocols to help ensure proper planning well in advance and to make the potential consequences and costs of their choices clearer to student groups,” Herbst announced in a December 1 message to the campus.

Regarding the incident and how it was dealt with, Herbst wrote that “it was the skillful professionalism of our police and Student Affairs staff that helped prevent this disappointing event from turning into a disaster.”

Wintrich was required to pay a $1,000 bond following his arrest.

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