Here's the report back from Andy Bourassa who stood with Stacie Bourassa and Ryan Celli on the road outside the "Maine for Mainers" anti-immigrant picnic.
The event had been publicized by unknown actors who mailed this flyer to residents living nearby in Canaan:
Several Maine newspapers, and even the Associated Press, carried the story of the flyer and the push back from organizers who objected to being characterized as white supremacists (despite their online history as such).
This is Andy's account:
We arrived at about 1:40. At that point, Ryan Celli was already there and parked on the opposite side of the street-about 500 yards from Camille's property. Fox/ABC channel 7, was already there also.
As soon as we parked our car TOM K approached us. He asked us if we were supporters, protesters, or something else.
I stated we were here to watch, document, and make it know we didn’t support his mission or presence.
I began to record at this point, as he and Ryan began debating where we could and could not stand or be.
Ryan stated he had spoken with the road commissioner and was clear on what he could and could not do. Stacie and I also had consulted on the law in Canaan.
TOM argues that we could not follow those guidelines. Ryan made him aware that Camille had threatened him, and TOM said Camille has a tendency to give over excited and carried away. We never addressed him until he spoke to us. After I called him out on this-because he said we were arguing with him...he walked away to complete his FOX interview further up the road.
After reporter finished with him-she came down and interviewed all three of us.
Her questions were things like-do we expect more people, how did you hear about this, and what did you think about the flyer (they say they didn’t send it)?
At 2:00- Ryan and I walked up the street and planned to stand about 50 yards away from Camille's driveway in the shade-on opposite side of the road and document. As we walked by the property, Camille came out and engaged Ryan. She started arguing with him about us being there and saying she had called the police. At that point -Ryan stopped walking and said, I guess I’ll stand right here. Just off the property line-on the side of the road.
Camille has some young guy in a Gandhi shirt (go figure) stand guard at the entrance to the drive. He silently shadowed Ryan for awhile.
A car arrived, with two older white men (60+). They pulled up and asked me if this was the white supremacist picnic. I planed my video up so they wouldn’t see me recording and wouldn’t get their faces. But you can hear the exchange on the video. They were from out of town and saw the event and wanted to come support TOM and Camille.
Because they stopped and chatted with me, when they tried to go in- Camille stops them and says they need to leave immediately and that they are on camera trespassing. She gets upsets and tells them to leave now! All that is on video. She actually turned away supporters-because she was so worried about infiltrators.
After they left, Camille again addressed and argued with Ryan and then walked away. The guy that had been shadowing Ryan, suddenly took three steps toward him and reached into his pocket. It happened so fast I didn’t catch it on video-just saw it. Ryan pulled up his shirt and showed the guy that he was carrying a weapon and warned him not to approach any further. The guy pulled out his phone and started recording, (this I have on video I shared) as he narrated a false tale. In my video I correct him and he changes his story three times-but eventually says exactly what I said in his own words.
Camille comes back out and starts yelling at Ryan again.
At this point, Camille says: “Have you ever heard the phrase don’t shit where you sleep? You have kids-you fool. Someone could come to where you live...”
At this point Ryan called the state police and reported threatening of his family. Police said they were on their way.
After 25 minutes the police showed up. State police Sgt. Bryant.
He was kind and calm. He spoke to Ryan first, then me, then went to speak with Camille and party. Stacie recorded this interaction with us-it is 15 mins long.
Officer took a very long time with them at the picnic. We waited for 45-60 mins in the sun like he asked us to. I made the comment that I would have left sooner than that if he hadn’t made us stay-it was state sponsored protesting because he wouldn’t let us leave the scene:)
We waited at the end of her drive while he spoke to TOM, Camille and other party goers. At some points they got heated with the officer and seemed quite upset. Overall they had the state police at their picnic for about an hour-so hard for TOM to talk.
While waiting to be released, two people left the party. One looked right at Ryan and I as he left in his pickup and said: “those people are friggin nuts!”
The officer finally came back and told us we were being warned for Disorderly Conduct. He acknowledged we had not broken any laws but said if we persisted and they were called back we would be arrested. I challenged that as I had reported to him as a cooperating witness with video that he reviewed. How was I being disorderly. I also challenged his notion we were invading her space. All interactions happened in the easement or public roadway so it was a disagreement between two parties in public-not on privately owned land. We asked if Camille was also getting a warning and he said he would “talk” to her. We challenged that and said if we are being warned -she has to be too. Ryan also asked that the officer provide a formal warning of harassment and cease and desist on any further contact -per threats and warnings she had already sent and received. Based on evidence Ryan provided he did issue her and official no contact. Camille violates that the same night by posting at and about him on Facebook. Which the officer said specifically was not allowed.
There were about 8-10 people in total. Camille and her partner Dave, and TOM...were three of the 8-10, and two people left. So overall, maybe 5 members showed and stayed.
We left at 4:15 when the officer released us. At that point they were mostly done.
For context, here are a few screenshots of hostess Camille Cheaney Patterson's threats posted to Facebook prior to the picnic.
To put faces with names:
A couple of thoughts about all this:
* White privilege probably allowed Stacie, Andy, and Ryan to feel safe interacting with a state trooper the way they did. It also protected them as they stood in a public space witnessing the picnic and documenting who attended:
* People of color would not likely have felt safe in this space or these interactions.
* I wouldn't have felt safe knowing that Ryan was carrying a concealed weapon. The probability of someone being injured or killed goes up significantly in spaces where guns are present. I have asked Ryan to comment on his choice to do this, and thus I won't guess what his motivation and reasoning may have been.
* Why is avowed white nationalist Tom K. wearing an Indian kurta in the photos with his wife and Camille's partner Dave? Because Hindu Brahmins were the original white supremacists?