Main | Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cops Raid San Diego Dem Home Fundraiser With Helicopter, Arrests, Pepper Spray

Congressional candidate Francine Busby was being hosted at the home of a lesbian couple in San Diego, where they and 30 guests raised funds for her campaign. A neighbor of the couple began shouting homophobic slurs over his backyard fence and then apparently called the police to complain about the noise. What happened next is surreal.
Cops responded with eight police cruisers and a helicopter, arresting the hosts and pepper spraying the guests. The Sheriff's Department received the complaint at 9:33 p.m. from a man who said someone was talking on a loudspeaker and a crowd was cheering, keeping him awake. From about 8 to 8:30 p.m., Busby said, she used an amplified microphone to talk to guests, whom she described as middle-aged supporters. During Busby's speech, Barman said in a statement yesterday, a man on the property behind her house shouted “disparaging remarks” about Busby and gay people. Barman lives in the house with her partner, Jane Stratton, 55. After her talk, Busby said, people chatted.

“It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes,” Busby said. Neighbors on three sides of the house said yesterday there wasn't much noise from the party. One man said he slept through it. “We didn't hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter,” said Natasha Cortina, 43, who said she and her two children were home with the windows open. Hugh Elliott, 53, who lives closest to the house, said he heard a deputy's radio, then arguing, coughing, crying and finally everyone spilling outside as the smell of pepper spray drifted over his back fence.
Busby is seeking to fill the House seat vacated by GOP Rep. Duke Cunningham, who is in federal prison after being found guilty of corruption. She is demanding that San Diego police explain their actions at her event. Commenters at the Sign On San Diego story are calling for the firings of the involved police.

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