The Provocateurs Making Jokes about Selling the Goods for the DeVos Company

The Michigan State Police are confused. They have issued a statement deeming the protests in Lansing Tuesday reasonably peaceful for an event of that size. But when WaPo asked about Steven Crowder’s claims to have been assaulted, they say they don’t understand why he hasn’t submitted a police report.

But what about the Steven Crowder thing? “We were aware of some reports of minor altercations,” Banner said. “Considering [the] number of people and the intensity of the emotions, I think all things considered, this was a very peaceful event.”

[snip]

Says Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk: “No one has filed a complaint on that assault.” A spokesman for the Lansing Police Department says that they’ve gotten no complaint in connection with the event and would have routed the matter to the state police in any case.

[snip]

Why no charges? “If somebody assaulted you, you’d file a complaint right away,” says Adamczyk of the state police. “Something doesn’t make sense here. If there is a complaint, we haven’t heard about it.” [my emphasis]

To TPM, Adamczyk noted that they can’t investigate this alleged assault unless Crowder files a complaint.

“You can’t leverage the law for personal gain,” he said. “Either you’re the victim, or you’re not. So if he’s the victim of an assault, and he wants to file a complaint, we will definitely investigate it.”

[snip]

“If somebody broke into your house, wouldn’t you immediately report it to the police? If someone assaulted you or your family member wouldn’t you report it immediately to the police?” Adamczyk said. “Well, why wouldn’t you, unless there’s a personal agenda there.” [my emphasis]

As I have noted, I share the MSP’s confusion.

That said, something has stuck with me through all this. Crowder, who called himself a provocateur while on Hannity, responded to an accusation that he worked for Dick DeVos the other day by joking about selling soap.

According to Spitzley, Crowder had an exchange with two pro-union men wearing blue jeans, hard hats and Carhartt clothing. One of the men accused Crowder of working for Amway, the family company of Michigan businessman Dick DeVos. Crowder joked that he sells soap.

“He said, ‘I sell soap. I should sell you some,’” Spitzley said, quoting Crowder.

Crowder said he never suggested the men needed soap or could use a bath. “That wasn’t my intent,” he said.

It was a joke, surely, and Crowder wasn’t the one who brought up Amway, the union guys were.

But I’m struck by how a DeVos affiliated organization, the Michigan Freedom Fund, is treating Crowder’s alleged attack. Yesterday, they issued a reward: (h/t Josh Pugh)

I’m rather interested in the formulation here. They’re issuing a cash reward to any information leading to “the arrest and conviction of those responsible for throwing punches at local residents and journalists or for the disgusting, racist assault against Clint Tarver.”

The formulation is rather curious, given that they’re rewarding people for information on alleged assaults on “local residents and journalists.” Putting aside that Crowder didn’t present himself as a journalist and has called himself a provocateur, I’m not sure he’d qualify in any case. Do they mean they’ll award information only for local journalists? Crowder was precisely what the right wing projected the unions were: an outside agitator brought in for the event.

There’s also the problem that thus far, only AFP’s Scott Hagerstrom has filed a complaint with the cops, not Crowder or–at least a few days ago–Tarver. If the victims they list never file complaints, there can’t very well be any convictions, and MFF doesn’t offer a reward for the complaint–allegedly damaged tent and computer equipment–that AFP did file.

And look where MFF is sending people? To the Lansing Police Department, not to the Michigan State Police, who have jurisdiction and who had 350 cops onsite and responded to the incident.

That is, to some degree, MFF is offering a reward for something that they likely know won’t happen: convictions related to victims who have shown a reluctance to press charges.

There are two more problems with all this.

First, as Eclectablog lays out in excruciating detail here, AFP and Clint Tarver both claim the perpetrators were two guys in masks (though video evidence suggests Stacy Swimp, was orchestrating movements prior to the tent coming down, who has ties through the National Center for Public Policy Research to Crowder).

As I’ve been pointing out all along, if there is a crime, it is important to report that crime. And we MI taxpayers made that particularly easy on Tuesday by paying $300,000 to have 350 cops onsite.

But if you are a victim of a crime perpetrated by men wearing masks, it is all the more important to report the crime immediately, because otherwise, it will be almost impossible to identify those masked men.

And then there’s this: according to Tarver, the masked men came into the second tent with tickets–distributed by AFP–for free hot dogs. It seems that, both from those hot dog tickets and because, according to Tarver, they took off their masks before he gave them hot dogs, AFP is the only entity that knows the identities of the culprits.

Yet it took them two days before they decided to press charges.

I’m glad some people, at least, are involving the police (I do hope they involve the police that have actual jurisdiction). Yet it seems that the right wing noise machine is now making a show of pressing charges, though bracketing off their most outrageous allegations, the ones being used to drive the right wing noise machine.

And then there’s the comment I’ve posted at the top of this page. The billionaire behind coercing people to ram through this law, Dick DeVos, has taken to trolling his own organization’s comment threads to try to sustain the increasingly weak story of a self-described provocateur who joked that he was selling soap for Dick DeVos’ family company.

Why is DeVos so personally invested in sustaining this story?

Update: I reworded this to more correctly describe what Swimp appears to have done.

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2 Responses to The Provocateurs Making Jokes about Selling the Goods for the DeVos Company

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Since when did "trolling" become synonymous w/ANY questioning credibility of author which @TheNation intellectually is selling? #JustStop
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bmaz @riversidesam Uh, no. I was not "trolling" Zirin in least. I asked him pertinent questions, in multiple ways, because he never answered them
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @Caissie: So @gofundme removed racist comments made by donors to Darren Wilson's campaign, but will let campaign continue? No more GoFun…
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@riversidesam Well, when you see Zirin "clarify his position" about execution of black men by citizens versus a cop, let me know.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @SunSportsRays: A beautiful first career complete-game shutout by @SmylyD 👏👏👏 Masterful. 105 pitches. A gem. Rays win 8-0. #AllSmyles
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@riversidesam I posed it in different form because he neglected to answer any. If you, or he, call that "trolling" that is total bullshit.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @riversidesam I hope I did, because, intellectually, I think he was full of shit in portions, certainly not all, but portions of that post.
6hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz So Zirin accused me of "trolling" b/c I questioned him on one post. After years of mostly plaudits+deep respect. What kind of cheap is that?
6hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ncardozo Don't stop short of perfection, is all I'm saying.
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emptywheel RT @FalguniSheth: Historical, profound piece by @prisonculture in WaPo: For blacks, America is dangerous by default http://t.co/NlY6TVK1Z8
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emptywheel @benwilliams9999 Imagine 2 black men putting the Masters of Universe in prison.
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emptywheel @ncardozo Also why are you getting bored suing the USG before you've perfected winning?
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