Counter-protesters attacked by some tea party participants at Tampa tax-day rally

04/18/11 Christopher Davis and Lenka Davis
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

Fewer than 1000 people turned out Last Friday for the Tampa Tax Day Tea Party Rally, even though organizers expected more than 5000. Marco Rubio, Ralph Reed and many others gathered to speak about lower taxes and government spending, to denounce the new health care law, and to protest undocumented immigration.

Ralph Reed from Faith and Family Coalition spoke about religion and freedom, but also encouraged the Tea Party activists.

"When people were writing the premature obituary of conservative values and principles, there was one group of people who stood up in season and out of season and stood in the gap and lifted high a banner of bold colors and not pale pastels, and it was the Tea Party movement."

American exceptionalism is a concept that is often used to mean that the United States is superior to other nations. Florida’s junior U.S. Senator, Republican Marco Rubio, tied his version of American exceptionalism to reduced government spending.

"Our government spends money it does not have and not a little bit more, it spends a lot more. It borrows $4 billion a day just to keep the lights on in the federal government. The alarming part of it is that a significant portion of this money that we borrow is used to pay interest on the debt. Interest of which a significant portion goes directly to China. If you watch some of the things that China is building up, it's your interest, it's your tax dollars."

The rally was advertised as a non-partisan event, but voter registration stands had the GOP logo and the Republican Party had its own stand to recruit volunteers. The Party was also often mentioned in the speeches. Who were the majority of attendees?

There were many interesting protest signs and interpretations at the rally in the parking lot of Tampa’s professional football stadium.

"Defend our Republic. Fight liberal lies, progessive politicians, socialism and communism. Protect our borders. It needs to be secure so the Mexicans don't come across. They're dope runners. If they come in and do it legally, then it's a different story. And I don't like the deal of bringing the kids across here, being born here and getting citizenship."

"Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing it's idiot. President Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, is a Marxist."

"Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Osama bin Laden, and Michael Moore. There's a rumor going around that they've got Pinocchio noses from lying so much."

The Tea Party was promoted in 2009 by Fox News, calling for a national day of protest. Its corporately funded beginnings have shaped the agenda, but many tea party patriots believe they are part of a grass roots effort.

"There's no money funneled into us like the sources. It's us who pay for everything. We're not funded by anybody, it's our own means that we're so adamant about getting back to grassroots that we will put everything on our own financially, on our backs."

This anti-tax day rally is not just about protesting taxes, but also a way ushering in support for other conservative principles like corporate and free market economies, pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-church. There were few counter-protesters except two lone voices of opposition. One was John Russell.

"How much did they pay you today, the corporate sponsors? This is corporatism, baby. You're all being duped. I'm a health care professional, I understand how to develop long term health care policies. '...' '...' everyone should just pay out of their own pocket for health care."

Russell was filmed being cursed at by tea party attendees and shoved by a male and hit by a female. This was caught on tape by the other counter-protester, Chyrisse Tabone. The video she took also shows her being kicked and hit by the female, who she says was identified by the police as Lisa Carole Bamberger of St. Petersburg.

Tabone questions the idea that the tea party is non-violent and inclusive.

"I was attacked. I have a police report in hand, I was kicked in my leg, I was hit in my face. My husband was assaulted. All we were doing was standing here, I had a sign and I was filming and this woman started kicking and railing on me. We're just exercising our free speech because there's a lot of misinformation, there's a lot of propaganda that's being put out today with this 'tea bag' movement. They claim they're grass roots, they're not, they're sponsored by Koch brothers and Fox news, and they're a hate group and we have the nerve to out here to counteract them."

Tea party-backed candidates beat moderate challengers in the 2010 midterm elections, helping Republicans take the U.S. House of Representatives and pick up seats in the Senate. Friday’s rally suggests the movement has its sights set on 2012 and beyond.

Previous WMNF news coverage of the Tea Party

Video of tea party members, including a woman identified as Lisa Carole Bamberger, kicking, hitting, and shoving John Russell and Chyrisse Tabone. Filmed by Tabone & used with permission. Warning: some tea party members on this unedited video use foul language:

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Free Speech & Civil Rights

How on Earth did this woman get away with ASSAULTING people and NOT GETTING ARRESTED??? So people that do peaceful protests have to endure being BEATEN? A person's rights end where another's begin. They have the right to speak and the right to press charges if assaulted. The people of the US need to stand up and take control!

He's a whiny jerk

That guy is a jerk, This reminds me of the guys who show up at funerals to protest homosexuals. Really inappropriate. And he and his wife are crybabies looking for trouble. They sound like kids: he touched me. did not. did so. did not.

Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation Bo

Reports say that there were less than 400 people at the event all total and most of those were coming and going...people at peaceful protests and non partisan events are being beaten, punched and kicked for having a dissenting point of view. While standing on public property? No arrests? What is wrong with this picture? Are any of us safe anymore?

What Does It Take To Be Arrested?

Were my position in this little kerfuffle to be reversed where I was the physical assailant or... were I to have retaliated or defended myself in an even mildly aggressive manner... you can be damn sure that 1.) I would have been piled upon and 2.) swiftly arrested and taken downtown. Thanks for the report. John Russell

What Is Principle?

To Kurt: The point made by all this is principle. Standing against the lies and propaganda. Or do you subscribe to the inane positions voiced by those attendees interviewed for this report. Assault is defined as "Attempting to strike someone... Battery IS successfully striking another" Per the Tampa Police on scene. As a health professional with some experience in Trauma at TGH, I know that all someone has to do to inflict REAL damage to another is to have a knife in their hand. Even the somewhat stature challenged can do this. Thanks for your thoughts. JR

That was YOU?!

What? That was you? Aren't you embarrassed by your behavior? Are you going to sue that girl for brushing against you? You deserve whatever you got because you're a troublemaker and you should be ashamed for bringing your wife and exposing her to the almost inevitable danger. Husbands are not supposed to do that. Are you so hungry for attention that you would risk your wife's safety? For shame! Do I share their beliefs? I have no idea. I wasn't there. I am just for consideration of others and maturity.

Take it on the road...

Dude… this is sooo cooool!!! The husband / wife team just minding their own business (with a bullhorn). And the MIB “Blackwater guy”… former military… former MRI Diagnostics… now Tea Party strong-arm… willing to be recorded while he intimidates!!! What a farce… these 3 should charge for this stage show.

And now… the Real News Radio Players

By-the-way… how is it that Mr. & Mrs. Megaphone(y) are reported as being “Counter-protesters”… when they’re the only ones protesting??? I mean, this was a Tea Party rally and not a Tea Party protest… right??? Wow… WMNF reporting a spoof as “Real News” and then misidentifying the “Players” in that spoof!!! Kinda adds a whole new dimension to “creating the news”…

For Those Who Favor FASCISM Over Free Speech!

Kurt and Glenn... two upstanding Americans who know not about what they speak. The bottom line is what's good for the goose ain't no good for the gander? Seems I recall a far more disruptive affair at Rep. Kathy Castor's town hall during the health care faux debate. The ONLY threat to the organizers of this "rally of a COUPLE of hundred" followers... was my MESSAGE. Those who have no substantive means of defending their position, have no recourse but to resort to the physical. Two year-olds present a familiar example of such routinely. I for one am unwilling to allow such a mind boggling dis-information campaign to go unchallenged. The sad part is that perhaps there are but a handful of people in this state, much less the nation who are willing to actively take on the Corporatist agenda. Certainly in Florida the FDP presents zero opposition! The blatant hypocrisy of the Rally content on the one hand in the presented discourse which was softly critical of corporations, while placing blame on all things governmental was ludicrous; When The Event was fully sponsored by CORPORATIONS/LOBBYING GROUPS. This, when said government policy is in full measure concocted by politicians who are COMPLETE SHILLS for "The Corporation." Considering that a Corporatist United States Senator was the keynote speaker... then you bet I'll be there to take him and his propaganda on. It does not get any more American than that! Need I even mention the history of events carried out by the emotionally and factually challenged at women's health care facilities? A portion of the audience at this event are of similar calibre to the protesters at Castor's meeting and "elsewhere." Funny how the progressives never seem to be the ones assaulting their political oppo's it's only those of a very right wing conservative ilk who pursue such recourse for reasons clearly described above.

blah blah blah

Your bottom line is a silly question? That doesn't make any sense OR support your position. You spout facts like a busted water hydrant and although I'm not well versed on these topics, I know many of your claims are false or exaggerations because there are rarely any absolutes in this world. I don't know you, never met you but I can tell you are one giant know-it-all, full-of-yourself annoyance. America is not a conspiracy against its people. This country gives us the most inexpensive cars and electronics, the best health care, the biggest houses, the best highways, the cheapest food, excellent labor standards, ample opportunities for advancement, and freedom to do as we please. Just what is it about that that is so offensive to you?

Take one for the team...

John… reality check!!! It doesn’t matter that you spent $750 for a nice set of 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton king sized bed linens. If you wear them to a Black Panther rally… expect to get your ass kicked!!! Besides… this was a win-win for you and the “Real News Radio Players”. No matter what happened… you and your team had a story. I noticed you didn’t deny that MIB guy was yours… which now makes me think that little miss flag-waver was yours also. Dude… if you’re going try to pull an O’Keefe… you have to be smarter than a liberal and twice as smart as a progressive!!!

Sorry to cause you guys Cognitive Dissonance!

BOTH of you gentlemen are so smart that I just cannot get over it. Glennster,Yep, ya got me... Me and MIB are bowling buddies since 10th grade... Ha! Oh and Lil Ms Patriotism why she attends NOW meetings w/ my wife... They're good friends... and Kurt what do you do? What kind of check does Marco give you for writing this nonsense? Kurt, You know the Wall Street Journal had an article a few years ago discussing America and what is now (The Myth of America) being the land of opportunity anymore... Best place to go to go from Rags to Riches and "hit it big" today? Eastern Europe, per the WSJ! BEST Health care, I see that you never saw SICKO... FRANCE! Facts Matter! USA 37th in the world in health stats! Sorry...

I hear votre maman calling you...

I hear France is sending “advisors” to Libya and looking for volunteers. Since you’re so into saving lives on a daily basis, why not dust off your passport and… bonsewer, manure. Oh yeah… my condolences… for your father dying in an ICBM silo defending this country. And… which war was that exactly??? An ICBM silo… really??? And when you’re protesting Monsanto… does he die in a grain silo… as a result of an unexplainable accident involving a rusty garden implement???

Cold War Had Many Hazards To Those In The Fight!

Glennster... ASBESTOSIS! ROCKET FUEL/HYDRAZINE! RUINED his lungs... Talk to any Navy vets? LOTS of Asbestos Ever hear of Mesothelioma? ASBESTOS IS THE CAUSE! Subs, Ships, Missle Installations ALL were loaded W/ ASBESTOS! PRE-OSHA! I'm quite certain that you would have all those pesky OSHA laws overturned as a means of rescuing our economy. After all workers are expendable are they not? Thanks for your insights, they certainly shine light on your ideology and understanding of the issues. Thanks, John Russell

For Those Who Incite FASCISM Over Free Speech

Hay… you’re welcome Johnster!!! You’ve turned into a believer… not about your father… but about this whole free-speech thingie. I assume Rev. Schite4brains (Terry Jones) will be receiving your support for his “Good Friday Mosque Protest” in Dearborn, MI??? I mean… it is free speech… right??? What could possibly go wrong??? Can you say… CWP protest Greensboro 1979??? Free speech my butt… both of you wants to incite violence and get it on tape. The two of you are cut from the same 1000 thread count bed linens…

Sorry, Breaking The Cocoon of FASCIST Indoctrinati

is all that I was about. You have no concern about say the PHONY TeaBaggers who went after Castor at her townhall. You have a set of "facts" that you and your crew prefer to protect from all manner of critique, in order to protect the movement. Yep free speech is there for all. That is the American way. To lump all free speech (political) would be to have us all lay down before you and your crew of violent, mislead morons and just TAKE IT! I was not the one causing violence! Neither was my wife! To allow the public to see just how immature, lacking of substance... off the wall in your ideology that advocates protection of the corporation, reverence for the rich (cause one day I just might win the lottery and I don't want to pay taxes on it) is ludicrous on its face. Listen to your colleagues on the MNF report... Why these folks, if informed of such by the proper authoritarian figure would believe that Bugs Bunny was the cause of all of our problems. Yeah the public deserves to hear the truth. Our tape provides a bit of a window into just what your friends are all about... and you do not like it! I'm sorry. I have live in this country too... I will do all I can to demonstrate the lack of integrity of a corrupt corporate press. That is part of what was accomplished here... 5,000 attendees... You've got to be kidding me... High Schoolers should not be managing my destiny! J R

Be the butterfly…

Yo…lil Johnson… I mean big Johnster… I told you I liked the show, what more do you want??? Seriously, you in a doc smock… wife carrying not one, but two video recorders… MIB Blackwater guy intimidation… little miss flag-waver kickin yer ass and the ICBM silo thingie…it was ALL great!!! Okay, okay… just one more thought before the “Real News Radio Players” take this show on the road. You really need to develop the whole “dearly departed daddy” shtick. But not too much!!! We don’t want to turn this “comedy errors” into a “Greek tragedy”. Do that… and the “Real News Radio Players” will be ready for off… off… off… off… off…off Broadway (closer to Poughkeepsie than Broadway actually)!!! But hay… break-a-leg… just make sure that 2 camera toten wifey poo gets the footage… It’s your destiny!!!

you call that silliness an attack?

you call that an attack? you should try protesting in egypt. they'll show yo what an attack is. what a sissy.

Sticks and Stones... "You Know the Rest!"

Thanks... I appreciate your concern as well as your misguided attempts at humor. I stand by my actions and my remarks. We will be filing a criminal complaint with the State Attorney's office on the attacker, as she is in clear violation of the law. Remember this is still America, fractured and frail as it is. Irrespective of whether or not the out of control woman draped in red, white and blue actually was successful in her clear attempt(s) to inflict physical harm, her efforts were a clear violation of the law. You ARE about law and order, are you not? I mean IF someone fired a gun at the President and missed, they could not use the excuse that... they missed and get away with it correct? The public will easily discern who the mature adult is here. About that I am certain. Regards, J R

Nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo!!!

John… DO IT!!! Go to the State Attorney's office. File a complaint against little miss flag-waver and MIB guy. His participation was more than intimidation… it was threatening… IF… this was real!!! While you’re at it… file a complaint against the Tampa Police Dept for not doing their job and the Rubio security team… if they were anywhere near your “assault” !!! You’ve got the recordings. I look forward to the trial and the subsequent “Real News” story. Otherwise… take the “Real News Radio Players” on the road. By-the-way… did you let Rev. Schite4brains (Terry Jones) know that he had the support of a “free speech” activist such as yourself??? Or does free speech only apply to you??? As for being about “Law and Order”… most liberals and all progressives wouldn’t know the difference between the “Sword of Justitia” and the “Sword of Damocles” if their freedom depended on it. To you and yours… a “Sword” is just another weapon to oppress the proletariat…

The "Right" Is ALWAYS RIGHT No Matter What... RIGH

Freedom to speak is enshrined in our constitution. Freedom to physically assail another is not. Yep the police were not exactly objective and that is interesting but not at all unexpected. We'll just have to wait and see how it all works out. Thanks for your thoughts and opinions... they add considerably to the body of evidence as to just how distorted the debate as become. It's apparent that you live in your own universe. BTW What is your occupation? We have not heard about that.... Lets hear it, after all you are so critical of my family, my long departed father's occupation etc. I'm certain that the public would like to hear about you there Mr. Pendergrass... your credentials both academic and professional... if that is in fact your real name. Most readers here are well acquainted with my professional background. Regards, J R

I stink... therefore... I'm spam!!!

Dude… I haven’t been critical of your family… just your stage show. It’s not my fault YOU chose to make your family part of the shtick. As for me… I’m a conservative libertarian with centrist and isolationist tendencies, who (unlike a liberal or progressive) is not defined by something as mundane as an occupation… a piece of animal hide nailed to the wall… or a shingle hung over a door!!! Oh, wait a minute… wait a minute… a rumor from this little backwater town called Sinope, has it that I’m some kind of homeless soapbox philosopher… go figure.

Self Perspective, What Role Does Occupation Play?

Very nice answer. Thanks for the clarification. Sheepskins as it were, in combination with life/work experience only assist one in discovering the entirety of their whole. In and of themselves, legitimate evidence of education/career/trade preparation in combination with professional experience help one develop perspective, as well as potential. Credentials demonstrate competencies attained. All that academic preparation does is prepare one to learn to think critically. One of the statements that I made at the rally is the following... "Educated people ASK Questions, Literate people FOLLOW Directions..." Educated does NOT equate with having earned a college degree necessarily, although legit academic preparation is in general, a net benefit in achieving competence in CRITICAL Thinking skills... because that is what college is all about... EXPANDING BOTH your base of knowledge as well as your ability to ANALYZE information and draw reasoned conclusions that lead to best/optimal decisions weighted toward achieving your overall objective. To merely accept statements as True... on their face, based exclusively on WHO IS MAKING the statement... as many people do at either end of the political bell curve, but most predominantly on the FAR RIGHT, is one of the major problems that this nation faces. A Crisis of IGNORANCE! Too many people are toooo easily persuaded by "political speak" that does NOT hold water when OBJECTIVELY analyzed. The fervor for holding tighter to FALSE promise that was quite evident in a majority of the attendees at the rally is more evidence of this alternate universe. When confronted with an alternate/plausible alternative, details resulted only in the "believers" holding more tightly to the FALSE self sacrificial promise... This phenomenon is defined as COGNITIVE DISSONANCE! BTW I have many Libertarian friends and supporters who do think and analyze critically... some of whom were in attendance and came forward to congratulate us on our efforts to present the truth. Occupations are btw, how most of us earn our living and respect from society. Earning the credentials that lead to entrance into a certain field are part of what earns a person that respect. What I do is but a part of who I am, because I have "done" many different things... business, clinical health care, health care management... amateur athlete, writer, half-ass musician, acted as my own general contractor to build my home... and have run for congress a couple of times... So "WHO/WHAT" am I really? I am all of these things and more, as I suppose you are too. Professionally speaking, I manage people's health care and assist them in understanding their options when confronted with what in some instances are LIFE THREATENING disease... So I am happy to be in some part defined by WHAT I DO, as I am well respected for that, by both the people with whom I work, as well as the people whose interests I work on behalf of. Thanks, JR

Step away from the mirror…

Easy there brother… you don’t want to break your arm patten’ yourself on the back.


oh my gosh. what an unsufferable ass.

Thanks for the Opportunity to Inform and Clarify

Thanks guys... Your incisive input is most appreciated. I wonder are you guys one in the same? Your comments appear coordinated... Major point... You've provided me a great opportunity to render detail to my opinions, in light of your sarcasm and in-substantive arguments. Nicely done... J R

You're more than welcome...

No problem… it was my pleasure. By-the way… that little quote of yours… "Educated people ASK Questions, Literate people FOLLOW Directions.” Sounds a whole lot like… “Intelligent people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people… and you managed to score that in your second line!!!

Bottom Line

If your people had just minded their own business, listened to what was being said and kept their hands to themselves... as the law requires there would have been nothing to talk about other than Freedom of Speech being calmly and effectively exercised. Again thanks... sarcasm will get you everywhere. JR

Get over it...

Dude… they were minding their own business and were trying to listen to what was being said. But then… The “Real News Radio Players” showed up and tried to ruin a nice family outing by sticking your collective progressive asses in everyone’s faces!!! Look… just because you have the right… doesn’t make you right… right??? Seriously, you and Terry Jones should hook-up… in say… Topeka, somewhere around Westboro.


The baggers are only interested in freedom; just not yours.

A Family Outing???

Freedom defined... "You're Free To Be Like Me!" You guys are such staunch supporters for the U.S. Constitution? It's LAUGHABLE! A "family outing?" You keep forgetting that we were a SOLID 100 yards away fro the "picnic!" The rowdy boys and girls marched the full 100 yards to attack us... Just because you're FRUSTRATED in being exposed to what you know INTELLECTUALLY to be TRUE but at the same time is in DIRECT CONFLICT with your IDEOLOGY does NOT give anyone the right to physically ATTACK the voice that disrupts your emotional karma! Thanks again...

Lovin those family get-togethers...

I wonder what the “Real News Radio Players” did for Easter??? Stand outside a kindergarten Sunday School room… bullhorn in hand… protesting the deception of the resurrection??? Nahhh… I can’t see any member of the team stepping foot on hallowed ground without bursting into flames. My money’s on stomping Easter Eggs. Yeah… that’s it!!! They went to the local Easter Egg hunt and started stomping eggs… while yelling at the “literate yet uninformed” parents about the dangers of high cholesterol in adolescence!!! Stomping eggs wouldn’t be considered… cruel or inhumane... the embryos weren’t viable… right???

Clown School

This John Russel guy is funny. He is one of those guys you can pick on and get guaranteed results. He actually cannot let anyone else have the last word. In real life that's extremely annoying but on here it's funny and shows his true nature. Let's keep this clown going: um.. John Russel, you are a misinformed, leftisit sociopath bent on the destructon of the status quo. You're only upset because someone finally stood up for justice and called your bluff!