Blaze Media’s Sara Gonzales said Sunday that a staffer for Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke tried to rip her phone from her hands while she was at a public event for the candidate in Dallas, Texas. Gonzales was then “manhandled” by a female officer with the Dallas Police Department and almost fell down nearby stairs, she said.
Not once was Gonzales directed not to record anything by anyone at the event, the conservative told The Daily Wire, adding that others had their phones out to record, too.
Gonzales provided a photo to The Daily Wire that is posted on O’Rourke’s own social media from the event. In the crowd, some attendees have their phones out, seemingly recording or taking photos of the Democrat, the picture shows.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for today’s education town hall!
Together, we’ll guarantee that this state finally has world-class schools where we fully fund our classrooms and fully support Texas teachers, students, and parents. pic.twitter.com/FtZP7StMog
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 7, 2022
“Earlier today, I attended a Beto O’Rourke townhall,” Gonzales shared on social media over the weekend. “I started to record an interaction between Beto & a constituent while he was taking pictures. His staffer grabbed my phone & tried to pry it out of my hands, then a DPD officer manhandled me unprovoked. Beto is NOT for TX.”
“I will be consulting my attorney and requesting bodycam footage from DPD,” she continued. “There were people recording on their phones all afternoon. The police gave me no directive before manhandling me and almost pushing me down the stairs. Imagine what this man would allow if elected.”
I will be consulting my attorney and requesting bodycam footage from DPD. There were people recording on their phones all afternoon. The police gave me no directive before manhandling me and almost pushing me down the stairs.
Imagine what this man would allow if elected.
— Sara Gonzales (@SaraGonzalesTX) March 7, 2022
“Step 1 is done (formal request for bodycam footage),” she added, captioning a screenshot of the request. “Filing the police report against the staffer for the battery she committed comes tomorrow as it must be done in person. I have identified her by name.”
Step 1 is done (formal request for bodycam footage).
Filing the police report against the staffer for the battery she committed comes tomorrow as it must be done in person.
I have identified her by name. pic.twitter.com/6EDBxDWH1o
— Sara Gonzales (@SaraGonzalesTX) March 8, 2022
“After his townhall, Beto was taking pictures and chatting with attendees of the event, many of whom had their phones out for the sole purpose of taking pictures and/or video,” Gonzales told The Daily Wire on Tuesday. “This was a public event. There were never any instructions not to film, nor were there signs. In fact, a photo posted on Twitter by Beto’s team shows numerous audience members with their phones up, and video cameras in the back. They also live-streamed the event. This was clearly not an event that prohibited video recording.”
“I started recording at this public forum, as I had seen many others do, and was immediately attacked by Beto’s staffer, who blocked me and grabbed my phone, trying to pull it out of my hands,” she recalled. “As I was attempting to maintain the grip on my phone while it was being pulled from me, a black female Dallas Police officer blindsided me and forcefully grabbed my arms, pushing me away where I nearly tripped down some steps.”
“She had given no directive, no instruction, no warning before forcefully putting her hands on me,” Gonzales continued.
“I am not a criminal and had not broken any laws. I’ve never been in an incident like this with law enforcement, and have always been extremely supportive and respectful of them, but this incident affected me very viscerally. The fact that I had to wrestle my private property away from a stranger attempting to take it from me only to be manhandled by the police as if I were a criminal is deeply upsetting,” she said. “I feel violated.”
Gonzales noted that the crowd of O’Rourke supporters did not say or do anything in reaction to the incident.
“Even worse was seeing the crowd of people — presumably the same people who insisted police should stand down and allow criminals to loot stores and burn down buildings – watching this abuse of power happen in total silence,” she told The Daily Wire. “Honestly, it felt like I was in the twilight zone.”
Gonzales has already formally requested related body camera footage from the police department.
“I am also filing a complaint against the officer, as well as a police report for the battery that was committed against me by the campaign staffer,” Gonzales said.
Hours later on Tuesday, the conservative confirmed to The Daily Wire that she has filed a complaint against the officer via email and is awaiting confirmation from internal affairs.
At around the same time, the department told The Daily Wire they have yet to receive the complaint. “This abuse of power should not happen to anyone,” Gonzales told The Daily Wire. “Law enforcement is supposed to enforce laws, not work as the mafia muscle for their preferred political candidate. If the Beto campaign is perfectly fine using the police to punish law abiding citizens, imagine what he’d do once in office.”
UPDATE: Gonzales has provided photo evidence of a confirmation email she received from internal affairs accepting her filed complaint.