A Harrison School District 2 security guard has been fired after an altercation with a protester during a contentious town hall Saturday with Gov. Jared Polis, according to a statement from the district.
The civilian security guard was captured on video yanking a grandmother to the floor as she began yelling “Recall” and lifted a scarf with “Recall Polis” after the governor had left the stage.
After an internal investigation, the district says, the guard is, “no longer employed by the district.” Officials would not comment further because it is a personnel matter.
The district also decided to require “community partners” to provide security for political events, said a statement released Tuesday.
LaDonna Robertson, a Colorado Springs activist who supports a recall of the governor, was toppled by the security guard at Sierra High School.
She recounted the incident on the Richard Randall KVOR radio talk show Monday.
After the town hall had concluded and Polis left the stage, she said, she and others began shouting “Recall.”
A man in front of her turned around and, to avoid being spit on, Robertson said, she held over her face a bright green piece of material on which she had painted “Recall Polis” and the movement’s logo.
“The next thing I knew, I was on the floor,” she said.
The guard, with the word “Security” on his shirt, pulled her by one arm while a man nearby repeatedly said, “She has freedom of speech, sir.”
Robertson was dragged to the floor, across the lap of her 10-year-old granddaughter, who she said was upset by the incident and started crying.
“It was so uncalled for,” the grandmother said.
Some people booed and yelled “Liar” during the town hall, which included audience questions about controversial legislation, including teaching students about sexual consent and expanding sex education.
Robertson said she has a sprained wrist and bruises from being dragged.
“I knew they’d shut us down if we started saying anything during the event,” she said. “I held my tongue until it was over. While everyone is clapping, we should be able to yell “Recall.” That’s our First Amendment right.”
Regardless of whether there were rules about holding signs, “the actions of the security guard were excessive and unjustified,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the ACLU of Colorado, after watching the video.
In the video, Robertson tells the guard she had back surgery Wednesday and has internal stitches. She grabs at her back while trying to get to her feet. The guard asks if she wants him to call for medical help. To view the video, see gazette.com.
Robertson said she called organizers to find out if signs were allowed at the town hall, where Polis talked about full-day kindergarten funding and other legislation he called for during the legislative session that ended Friday.
She said she was told cardboard signs were banned, so she wrote “Recall Polis” on a piece of fabric, similar to a scarf.
People wearing T-shirts that said “The governor is an idiot” weren’t treated the way she was, Robertson said.
The protesters acted independently; they weren’t organized by the El Paso County Republican Party, party Chairwoman Tamra Farah said.