A Green Party operative gathering signatures at Ellicott City's Charles E. Miller branch library to keep the group on Maryland's 2012 election ballot was pepper-sprayed and arrested by Howard County police, who charged him with trespassing and resisting arrest.
That much about the Dec. 18 incident is not in dispute, but practically everything else is, highlighting a sore subject in Maryland, and especially in Howard County — the difficulty in mounting a successful petition drive. Problems finding acceptable places to troll for signatures and Maryland's strict signature validation standards present daunting hurdles, and Maryland Green Party Chairman Brian Bittner says he's worried.
"What are we supposed to do? Where are we to turn to take part in democracy?" he asked. "We're certainly unsettled by it."
Jan 14, 2011
From the Baltimore Sun: