Ron Paul's campaign accused security officials at Saturday's state GOP convention in Louisiana of assaulting some of their supporters, resulting in one suffering a dislocated prosthetic hip and another having some of his fingers broken.
The full statement from the Paul campaign is below, but for some context of what precipitated the chaos, Jonathan Tilove's scene-setter in the New Orleans Times-Picayune is essential reading.
Paul, a Texas a representative who is retiring from the House after this year, decided in mid-May to pare back his presidential campaign and to no longer compete in primaries or caucuses that had not yet taken place. But he encouraged his supporters to continue to compete for delegate spots to the Republican national convention in August, and the events in Louisiana are the latest evidence that they are doing so with a passion.
Here is the full statement from the Paul campaign:
LAKE JACKSON, Texas -- The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released the following statement concerning the outcome of the Louisiana State Republican Convention. Below please find comments from National Campaign Manager John Tate:
“The Ron Paul campaign condemns the unfortunate activities that took place at the Louisiana Republican State Convention in Shreveport.
“However, we also wish to highlight and applaud the fact that the convention ended on a high note reflective of the cooperation all Republicans wish to see toward the mutual aim of defeating President Obama in the November general election.
“The unnecessary conflict, and positive conclusion as we understand it, transpired as follows.
“LAGOP officials ignored the vast majority of duly elected delegates and attempted to use illegally adopted rules to deny Ron Paul supporters an opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Louisiana has 46 delegates. Five were pledged to Mitt Romney based on the March 23rd primary result and Rick Santorum received 10, meaning most delegates were contestable at the state convention.
“Delegates to the state convention were chosen at caucus meetings on April 28th. Ron Paul slates won four of six congressional district contests. Of the approximately 180 delegates attending the state convention, 113 voted to remove the LAGOP chairman when he failed to respond to requests for information and other motions from delegates. Nearly two-thirds of the delegates began physically moving their chairs, literally turning their back on the GOP chair appointed by the party hierarchy.
“In another instance, State Central Committeeman and Ron Paul supporter Henry Herford Jr. of Franklin Parrish was attacked by some security officials who didn’t realize that the body had voted out the previous chairman. Mr. Herford has a prosthetic hip and according to a doctor at the scene it appears as though the prosthetic was dislocated and may require replacement. The injury occurred as he was beginning to call to order the newly re-formed convention.
“In yet another instance, Ron Paul supporter Alex Helwig, Chairman of the Rules Committee who made the motion to remove the chair, was arrested by Shreveport police and released. During his brief detainment, some of his fingers were broken and when he returned to the event he was walking with aid of a cane.
“By 10:50 a.m. today, the newly formed convention completed its work. Newly-elected national delegates met with the Romney campaign’s Louisiana Chairman, Scott Sewell, who graciously said ‘that he supported the effort and would do everything he could to make sure the delegation was seated’ in Tampa.
“Despite the divisiveness that characterized the Louisiana state convention initially, we are thankful that the Paul and Romney campaigns took the high road to guarantee the enfranchisement of Republicans whose candidate preferences differ.
“Republicans of goodwill agree that following the spirited primary season, the general election presents us with an opportunity to defeat Obama and place the nation on a path to recovery.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured at the convention. And, we thank all responsible convention participants for ending the day on a more unified note.”
A site called PolicyMic.com has posted remarkable video of what is apparently a Ron Paul supporter being removed by police from the state convention.
The site says the man arrested was "Alex Helwig, Ron Paul Rules Chairman, who was elected legitimately by the majority delegation."
Following Helwig's removal, nearly all of the delegates in the room vote by voice to turn away from the podium at the front of the room, reposition their chairs, and sit en masse facing the opposite direction. It's not clear from the video whether this is only an act of defiance or whether they intended to continue their own proceedings in the same room under the direction of a different chairman or chairwoman.
Watch the video here: