Sheila Buck, the 62-year-old woman who was arrested outside of Donald Trump’s “Keep America Great” rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, said she plans to fight the charges against her, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. Buck, a Tulsa resident, reserved a ticket to Trump’s Saturday rally, but she didn’t attend as a Trump supporter. She attended as a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Buck showed up to the rally wearing a black T-shirt that said “I Can’t Breathe,” in stark, white print. The slogan is a common chant at protests against police brutality, a nod to the last words of many black men who have died at the hands of police officers. Buck told The Washington Post that she thinks she was arrested just because of her T-shirt.
According to The Washington Post, Buck has hired an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit against the Tulsa Police Department and the city. The lawsuit will allege that the arrest violated her First Amendment rights to protest and to practice her religion, and her Fourth Amendment right to be safe from unlawful seizure.
Buck also stated that she’s pursuing a lawsuit against the Trump administration for false arrest and personal injury. According to the source, the police officers who arrested Buck were so rough with her that she had cuts and bruises all over her arms.
This woman was thrown out of Trump's rally in Tulsa, manhandled, put in handcuffs, and arrested because she was wearing a shirt that said I CAN'T BREATHE.
Let this be known. Trump's campaign made a point here that anyone empathizing with victims of police violence are the enemy. https://t.co/apk7D2o2UY
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) June 20, 2020
Buck was arrested while in line outside of the Trump rally, The Washington Post reported. When Buck arrived outside the venue, she showed her ticket to a police officer at the site of the rally, but was told she didn’t need a ticket to attend the event.
Once inside the area cordoned off for those waiting to enter the rally, Buck knelt down to pray. Moments later, she was approached by law enforcement officials who asked her to leave the area. She told the officers that she had tickets to the event and wasn’t doing anything wrong. After some discussion with the officers, during which Buck refused to leave, the officers handcuffed her, arrested her, and dragged her out of the rally.
The police officers who were seen arresting Buck have come under fire after news footage of them dragging Buck out of the protest aired. Some connected the arrest to threats Trump had made about arresting any protesters that showed up at the rally.
When asked for a comment by The Washington Post, Tulsa Police Capt. Richard Meulenberg stood by the arrest. He said that the area around the venue had been rented out by the Trump campaign, so the staffers had control over who was allowed on the premises.
He continued, saying that Trump staffers had asked Buck to leave, and when she didn’t comply, they called over the police officers on site. Meulenberg stated that his officers spoke to Buck for several minutes trying to convince her to leave and then arrested her for resisting.