I just got off the phone with David Brian Brown, the St. Louis, Mo., lawyer who has appeared with Kenneth Gladney, the black man who claims he was beaten up by a bunch of Service Employees International Union members outside a town hall meeting in St. Louis. Gladney says he was just there innocently selling Gadsden flags — those flags with the coiled snake that say “Don’t Tread On Me” and became symbols of the recent GOP Tea Party protests.
Here’s the video that shows the alleged attack — and Gladney (the one in the grey polo shirt) walking around casually after the incident, claiming that an SEIU member attacked him. Meanwhile, as Daily Kos diarist KevinNYC points out in his play-by-play of the event, there’s a big white guy in a white polo shirt yelling — “they attacked him!” The guy on the video looks strikingly like his lawyer, David Brown, who now says he was a witness to the event, so he can’t officially represent Gladney.
When I asked Brown, who was in a car with Gladney on their way to see Brown’s brother, who is going to be Gladney’s official lawyer, Brown said that there’s been lots of misinformation floating around online about this case.
For one, Brown said, contrary to recent reports like this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gladney wasn’t laid off and has health insurance. “He’s just unemployed,” says Brown, and “has insurance through his wife.”
Although Brown initially identified Gladney as “a friend,” when I asked him what line of work Gladney is in, he had to go ask Gladney about that before he could report back to me that about a year ago, Gladney worked for an optical store. Brown said he thinks Gladney’s wife is a social worker, but he’s really not sure.
Meanwhile, though Gladney appears to be just fine in the video right after he was supposedly beaten up, he showed up the next day at a tea party event in a wheelchair. At the event, Bill Hennessy, the organizer of the St. Louis tea parties, asked the crowd to donate money to Gladney to help him pay for his injuries, despite the fact that he now says he has insurance. When I asked Brown about this, he said: “Well, who doesn’t need a donation? If people want to give him a donation because he’s injured and unemployed, that’s up to them.” Brown said Gladney has raised about $1,100 in donations so far.
Brown also told me that Gladney is not a conservative activist. He was just selling the 18th-century patriotic resistance flags to try to make some extra money. Brown said Gladney plans to sue both the individuals he says attacked him and the SEIU, since the “attackers” were wearing union T-shirts and “unions have a 100-year history of intimidation.”
On the Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on Friday, Gladney said he’s “in some pain” but “I’m okay, I’m still kind of shaken up, just kind of upset about the whole thing.”
Brown said he doesn’t yet have the medical report of his client’s alleged injuries, but that his lawyer brother, Andrew Beeny, will be getting a copy for the lawsuit. Brown said he didn’t know whether his brother would release the report to the public.