U.S. Secret Service agents arrested Thomas Frampton ’06 Monday evening at the Republican National Convention, after he allegedly tried to climb into the seating area for Vice President Dick Cheney and assaulted an agent.
Frampton — one of the most visible liberal activists on campus — got within 10 feet of Cheney, shouting anti-Bush administration statements, according to a complaint lodged by the Secret Service. Frampton was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed when he resisted the agents’ efforts to restrain him, the complaint said.
Henry Mazurek, Frampton’s attorney, said several of the video cameras in the arena must have captured the incident, and called the charges against his client “completely bogus.”
“I think there’s video that’s going to show that he did not resist in any way or try to get at the vice president,” Mazurek said.
Frampton apparently entered the convention under the guise of a convention volunteer, and was in possession of credentials identifying him as a worker outside Madison Square Garden at the time of his arrest. RNC records indicate Frampton may also have been given a pass to the inside of the arena, though no pass was found when he was searched.
Frampton was released Tuesday afternoon on $50,000 personal bond, according to an e-mail from Dion Washington, a spokesman for the New York U.S. Attorney’s office. He did not have to provide the sum before his release, but could be sued for that amount if he failed to arrive in court.
Both of the charges — interfering with the official duties of the Secret Service and assaulting the agents — are misdemeanors and carry a maximum statutory penalty of one year in prison each, Washington said.
Frampton must appear in court Sept. 30 to answer to the charges, Mazurek said.
Mazurek — who was hired by Frampton’s family — said the assault charge was based only on Frampton impeding the duties of the agents, not attempting to strike them. But the complaint specifically mentions Frampton swinging his right elbow hard in the direction of one of the agents, forcing the agent to move to avoid being hit.
Efforts to contact Frampton Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Manhattan federal court Judge Andrew Peck ordered Frampton to stay away from the RNC and the nearby area, to give up his RNC workshirt, and to stay at least 100 feet from the president and vice president, Washington said.
University spokesman Tom Conroy said Yale does not become involved in this or similar cases.
Alnawaz Jiwa ’06, the president of the Yale College Republicans, said he thought it was ironic that Frampton would use deception to enter the convention, when Bush opponents often accuse the president of being similarly underhanded.
“I think most people see Tom Frampton as a ridiculous character,” Jiwa said. “Usually there’s no graver consequences, but I think he really stepped over the line this time.”
Amelia Frank-Vitale ’05 — who protested outside of the convention — said she did not want to comment specifically on the Frampton case, but that she believed police were frequently abusing their arrest powers during the convention.