WASHINGTON -- Three individuals were arrested and charged with trespassing on Tuesday for protesting a speech by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Video footage taken by an attendee at the event shows that one of them, Tom Nielsen, received particularly harsh treatment -- he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Nielsen received an additional charge of resisting arrest.
Ryan was speaking Tuesday afternoon at the Whitnall Park Rotary Club. Protesters gathered both outside his event and inside, standing up and disrupting the congressman's remarks.
According to Oak Creek Patch, as many as a dozen protesters were escorted out of the event. Another dozen or so left willingly.
Nielsen is a 71-year-old retired plumber from Kenosha, which falls within Ryan's district. He had never been able to attend a Ryan town hall event in the past -- partly, he explained, because he rarely knew when they were scheduled for in advance -- and was excited to get to Tuesday's to make his views heard.
In video posted by Wisconsin Jobs Now, Nielsen shouts that he disagrees with Ryan on entitlement programs during the congressman's speech. Two uniformed police officers and another man in a suit then escort Nielsen out. In the hall, Nielsen can be heard shouting. He was eventually pushed to the ground and handcuffed by police officers.
"Three people got me and hauled me backwards out the side door and into a little room. ... They pushed me the floor and twisted my arms back and handcuffed me. They said I was resisting arrest," recounted Nielsen in an interview with The Huffington Post.
"I have a broken clavicle from a car accident I had about four weeks ago, and it's in the process of healing, but it's not done yet. So I was protecting that. I said, 'Don't hurt me! I have a broken shoulder here and collarbone.' They didn't pay attention to that. They put the cuffs on really, really tightly."
Nielsen and the two other individuals who were arrested had to sit in a "paddy wagon" for an hour or two before being taken to the police station, he said.
Nielsen said he is still a bit sore from Tuesday's scuffle. He faces fines amounting to approximately $1,000 for trespassing and resisting arrest, which he plans to challenge in court.
Ryan took heat during the August recess for refusing to hold any open, public, free town hall events. Instead, he has chosen to speak at events -- such as the one at the Rotary Club -- hosted by outside groups that often require admission fees to attend.
Nielsen received his ticket to the event from Wisconsin Jobs Now. The group purchased extra tickets to the event and handed them out to protesters who wanted to attend.
After Nielsen was removed from the event, Ryan tried to make light of the situation, saying, "I hope he's taking his blood pressure medication."
Ryan's office did not return a request for comment.