8.23.2019

"Yeah, I pushed you": Anti-vaxxer assaults Calfornia lawmaker

And streamed it live on Facebook.



An anti-vaccine activist was cited for misdemeanor assault Wednesday after shoving a California lawmaker who has worked to tighten the state's laws for childhood vaccinations.

'Yeah, I pushed you': Anti-vaxxer cited for assaulting lawmaker while live-streaming on Facebook

54-year-old Kenneth Austin Bennett livestreamed the confrontation on Facebook, showing him exchanging words with state Senator Richard Pan before shoving him on the sidewalk near the capitol in Sacramento.

Pan, a pediatrician, has authored several bills that limit exemptions for child vaccinations, including legislation that prohibits parents from opting out of vaccinating their school-age children on account of personal beliefs.

His efforts have made him the target anti-vaccination activists, including screaming protestors, online harassment and death threats. But this is apparently the first time things have gotten physical.



The video shows Bennett, who previously attempted to run against Pan as a write-in candidate, wandering through downtown Sacramento before encountering Pan. ("What are the chances of this!") He aggressively questions Pan about his position on vaccines, citing a variety of debunked claims.

Pan, who's clearly dealt with this kind of bullshit before, briefly engages Bennett while he continues to walk. "Maybe you should study public health," Pan says at one point. Science, asshole.

Bennett then reaches out and gives Pan a hard shove from behind.

"I pushed you," Bennett says, before walking away and saying into the camera, "I probably shouldn't have done that." He then walks back toward Pan, going off on more anti-vaccine shit as Pan and others call the police.

"You are a liar and the assault that you're committing on our children is so egregious," Bennett says to Pan before leaving and continuing his video, which is no longer publicly available on Facebook.

According to Sacramento Police, Bennett was cited with misdemeanor battery on Wednesday and released.

Pan says this incident was part of a long pattern of abuse directed at him.

"Bullying, threats, and violence should not be acceptable in civil discourse and policy making," Pan said in a statement. "Yesterday's assault was incited by violent rhetoric and imagery employed by anti-vaccine extremists. Anti-vaxxers have attempted to dehumanize me and other public health advocates on social media while making death threats."

"Being harassed by an anti-vaxxer in a public place is, unfortunately, an experience I've had frequently so that was no surprise," Pan later told reporters at a press conference. "But I'm certainly disappointed he decided to take a blow to me in the back after I walked past him. You can imagine walking down the street and suddenly being confronted from the back."

More here: Anti-Vaccine Activist Assaults State Sen. Richard Pan, Posts Video to Facebook