EXCLUSIVE: Revolutionary War Re-enactor Says U.S. Capitol Police Tread On Me
FOX News Radio Exclusive Report
By FOX News Radio White House Correspondent Mike Majchrowitz.
Washington, D.C.: As a Revolutionary War re-enactor, Jon Andrews helps recreate the struggle against government repression from which the United States of America was born. But when he recently came to Washington D.C. to practice his art, he lost his own freedom. His attempt to help celebrate the birth of liberty with his antique flintlock muskets landed him a berth in a D.C. Jail.
The 53-year-old Vincennes, Indiana resident brought his wife and son to take part in a weekend re-enactment at Mount Vernon’s “Washington and Rochambeau Commemoration.” On the afternoon of Thursday September 8th Andrews and his family decided to see the U.S. Capitol. The timing couldn’t have been worse, not just because of rain but because in a few hours the President was due to give an address to Congress. Security that is normally heightened was now hyper-tight.
It started with a traffic stop. Andrews says he was pulled over by a Capitol Police officer and told he made an illegal lane change. He says he was later told that was a pre-text for stopping him. “They informed me later on that I had been profiled, or my car had been profiled as a potential threat because of the way my (Chevy) Blazer sat low to the ground in the back and because of the big black cargo box I had on top of my car.” A statement from the Capitol Police denies profiling was involved. “The United States Capitol Police has specific policies and practices that forbid any type of discriminatory profiling and none was practiced here.”
He says from that point his D.C. family getaway became a nightmare. Although it was unlikely he would try to assassinate the President with an 18th century muzzleloader, the Capitol Police seemed unable to decide what to do with him. “Something that could have been sorted out really quickly, it just seemed like that nobody would sign off on it or everything that I was hearing was that nobody would stick their necks out.”
Eventually he was transferred into the custody of the District’s Metropolitan Police to be held overnight – a facility he describes as filthy and horrendous. “No water, no food, no anything all night long. In fact the whole time I was in there I had no food or water and was handcuffed and shackled.” Meanwhile his wife and 12-year-old son were left alone in a strange city to fend for themselves.
Friday afternoon, after more than 24-hours incarcerated, Andrews was set free. No charges were filed. His weapons and SUV had already been returned to his wife. He sees the return of his weapons as an admission that he had never really been a threat at all. He’s not bitter but he is shaken. “I am really happy that our government is watching but there seems to be a lack of common sense or lack of logic involved.”
U.S. Capitol Police say they stand by the Andrews detention. “Mr. Andrews was handled according to USCP standard policies and practices. He was not shackled at any time by the USCP.” And as for the lack of any charges, the Capitol Police say Andrews, “violated several laws that prohibit possessing or carrying dangerous weapons and explosives. The decision not to move forward with charges was made by the United States Attorney’s Office and does not reflect a judgment upon the validity of Mr. Andrew’s arrest.” Meanwhile D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department denies leaving Andrews without food and water saying “We fed ALL of our prisoners twice, that evening and during the overnight hours.”
Despite his ordeal, Andrews and his family joined with his unit of re-enactors and others at Mount Vernon’s re-enactment that weekend. He knows his story is unique but he fears what happened to him could happen to others. Andrews still loves his country but asked if he still feels the same about his government, “Not near like I used to. It has taken away a part of me. “
Listen to some of FOX News Radio White House Correspondent Mike Majchrowitz’s interview with Jon Andrews HERE: