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I Was Detained for Protesting Trump. Here’s What the Secret Service Asked Me


I Was Detained for Protesting Trump. Here’s What the Secret Service Asked Me.

Melissa Byrne

Like many events that end up with a person in handcuffs, my story begins in a bar. I was in Atlanta earlier this month for Netroots Nation, the annual meeting of progressive organizers and writers, when I overheard friends discussing how to resist President Trump’s first visit to Trump Tower. I jumped into the conversation: “Well, you call me, of course.” Twenty minutes later, we had a rough plan that we would unfurl a banner inside Trump Tower the following week. I have been to many protests since the inauguration, and I was proud to do my part.


You have a wonderful neighbor.


I’d guess that 8 or 9 out of every 10 police officers, anywhere in the U.S., vote Republican.
Just doing their job.


It was extremely foolish to answer any questions without your lawyer present. Much better to be held until you have a lawyer than to open yourself up to a world of hurt:

“You see, there is a section in the federal code, referred to as 1001 by legal eagles, that makes it a crime to lie to a federal agent. The agent doesn’t have to put you under oath. If you tell him or her a lie, you’re guilty. The federal officer doesn’t even have to tape the conversation. All he or she has to do is produce handwritten notes that indicate that you made false statements. So, if you misspeak or the agent mishears or there is an ambiguity that the agent chooses to interpret in an unfortunate (for you) direction, you’re on the hook. There’s also the possibility that you might be tempted to shade the truth a bit when an IRS agent is quizzing you about that business deduction you took for the trip to Vegas. My advice to you is: Don’t do it. To be on the safe side, when confronted by a federal agent, don’t say anything at all unless your lawyer says you have to.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2004/03/31/never-talk-to-the-fbi/

You should be polite to law enforcement officers, but you should not answer questions without a lawyer present. Here’s good advice from the ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/images/resources/kyr_english.pdf


Aren’t Secret Service Agents sworn to Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States?

What about a Citizen’s First Amendment Rights?

Do they Hate Us For Our Freedoms?


Good job Melisa ! At least they have not come to throwing protestors out of windows yet.


When you’re a threat to everyone

Everyone’s a threat


What @Townsend12 said, the minute they applied handcuffs. You present yourself as an experienced protestor, but if you went on a solo event without an attorney’s advice, you reveal your naivete. Just imagine what the NYPD, especially, has to deal with in this building, with the Secret Service under foot but having lost their lease within the building, they’re all working on their last nerve. They don’t know how to operate under these conditions, where the POTUS (such as he is) walks out into a multistory atrium where just anyone can be sitting around in the public spaces.

And you should never, ever have signed a HIPAA release. At that, your attorney would have picked you up and taken you out of there. And they would have asked “what felony?” Don’t be bullied by their threats, and don’t walk into a situation without being prepared for the worst that could happen.


The jackboot SS agents have been wanting to be let off their leashes like this for years, and with Donnie they finally got their wish. This is going to be the new normal - suppression of dissent in the harshest and most intimidating ways possible. The irony is that they can’t protect him from himself and his death wish eating habits. That’s the real danger he faces. One too many taco bowls or KFC buckets and he keels over!


This is not suppression of dissent, and there are loads of ways for it to get harsher. She walked out of the tower that night, didn’t she?


The orange emperor of evil has surrounded himself with centurions and legionaries not unlike other malevolent Roman emperors…difference is, now they can take out entire “villages” of people with a few burps from their automatic weapons. And for what, to protect a petty despot/diabolical demagogue?


And just how do you think she left unscathed? This event and the recording thereof will follow her to the end of her life. Can you imagine what the SS and/or police wrote in their reports: potential assassin, perhaps? And the trauma of the event will remain with her emotionally. I applaud her courage.


Stop, please. This is the story of one young, foolish protestor. She was not injured. She apparently was not charged. She could have changed the whole narrative, but she did manage to get published on WaPo.


How cynical. Changed the narrative??: not a chance. She was perceived as guilty until proven innocent. Enough said.


Melissa, I hope you will read my comment. It is simply this: I read your piece here with great interest (and concern); when I got to your neighbor’s final remark, the punchline!, I sat, alone in my house at the moment, laughing out loud, for a while! Good for your neighbor! And hat’s off to you!


Thank you. You give very wise advise.




During a questioning incident such as the one in this article, if you don’t have a personal lawyer, do they have to provide one for you?


What did she do that was so wrong? Seems like she should be able to non-violently protest where she wants. A great leader (like JFK) might have laughed at the sign, or stopped and asked her what her opinions were - not operating on fear and intimidation. The Secret Service and NYPD are to uphold the constitution - not their opinions.


I think some of my neighbors feel that way, like I do as well, but in this red town/red state of hate, I think they would be terrified, rightfully so it seems, to mention it to the SS ( is that ‘Secret Service’ or ‘Schutzstaffel?’).