Anti-Vaccination Activist Prevails in Court v. Senator, but Gets Charged in Another Case

Anti-vaccination activist defendant Mike Mattingly – with hat, umbrella and others arrested but not charged at Capitol Protest in September

By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – An umbrella can be a dangerous thing. So much so that a state lawmaker filed an injunction seeking to deny the free speech of an activist, in part because of political slogans on an umbrella.

Anti-vaccination advocate Mike Mattingly, who whipped State Senator Jim Beall (D-Campbell) in that free speech/umbrella court contest last month, Thursday was officially charged for shouting at lawmakers at the State Capitol Sept. 9.

Mattingly, though, took it in stride, and said he welcomed another chance to win in court.

Mattingly, according to CHP and news reports, briefly disrupted the state senate, is now being charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest/failure to obey the instructions of a law enforcement officer. The CHP said he shouted during the senate session from the gallery.

Hundreds of people opposed to mandatory vaccines – including parents, and those with science degrees, protested the legislature’s votes to pass the strict vaccine bill Sept. 9.

Mattingly, and six others were arrested. Charges were not filed against the six other protestors – three blocked entry to the south side of the building, and three others barricaded the parking garage entrance to the Capitol.

No injuries or property damage were reported, and those arrested engaged in non-violent civil disobedience, said protest organizers, who charged lawmakers had “failed us” in passing legislation that imposes new, more stringent guidelines for parents wishing to exempt their children from vaccines.

Sacramento Sen. Richard Pan was the measures’ author said the legislation is needed to prevent “fraudulent” exemptions that would allow parents to skip vaccines for their children.

Mattingly said Thursday as he left court that he wasn’t surprised that he alone was charged for the September action, and that it was not a coincidence, maybe because he’s already had a “run-in” with the state senator – and won.

Beall actually sought a restraining order against Mattingly back in September, claiming that the activist was “aggressive” and insisted on talking with him about the vaccination issue, as well as water fluoridation, at public events.

Beall – in what may be a first for an elected official who usually welcome questions from constituents, or at least say they do – suggested that he feared the speech of Mattingly, who also, in addition to questions for the lawmaker, displayed anti-vaccination brochures and an umbrella with slogans on it.

The state lawmaker cited a river clean-up and senior event as two examples of where Mattingly, who participated in the public events, and also asked Beall and staff questions.

“As a result of these incidents in which Mattingly has committed unlawful violence (although no where in the pleadings is there an example of any stated violence), and because Mattingly has made several statements that he will continue to seek me out, I have suffered substantial emotional distress and I am extremely fearful for my safety,” said Beall in his court declaration.

Beall also cited an online video offered by Mattingly that purported to apologize for his actions. It stated, in part, “”I’d also like to apologize for getting up in the Senate chambers and calling you out for not meeting with us.”

Beall said he thought the video was sarcastic.

When he had court to respond to Beall’s request for a civil restraining order in October, Mattingly said he told the judge that “nothing qualified as harassment,” and went on to rebut “each lie and hyperbole that was presented as truth by Beall’s sworn testimony.”

Beall didn’t attend the hearing but sent Cara Jenkins of the Office of Legislative Counsel.

In court, Mattingly said he “showed the collusion between police and Beall (and) mentioned that he felt it was harassment that I participated in a river clean up that he was hosting…simply because I was there…they said I was in his space, but there was a table between us at the river cleanup, and when I talked to him the senate balcony, I couldn’t invade his person space (Beall was below on the senate floor.”

“This was weakest thing I had ever heard of…that a sitting Senator would file a restraining order against a constituent because he doesn’t like the constituent’s political speech,” Mattingly said.

In the end, Judge Philip Stanger denied Beall’s request for an injunction.

Repeated calls and emails for comment to the senator’s office by the Vanguard were not returned.

Mattingly’s next court date on the misdemeanor Capitol protest charge is in early January 2020.

See the complaint here: Beall pleadings-4

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Ron Glick

    Love that sign but beware of what you ask for:

    “Where is the vaxx free school?”

    Have long thought this is the solution, put all the vaxx free kids together in a single school, then we simply wait.

    I know someone will likely die from whooping cough or measles so its not going to happen. It would however make a great case study.


    1. Bill Marshall


      One makes choices, one deals with the consequences of those choices.  But should not expect others to suffer the consequences of their choices.  This would be an example of folk making choices that necessarily ‘segregate’ themselves.

      We should act to protect “the herd” — some of whom have TRULY medically valid reasons why they cannot be vaccinated.  Pretty few… but they are protected by the “herd” who are vaccinated…

      The anti-vaxers care not about the “herd”… they want the protections of the “herd”, though… they’d probably scream louder if we banned all vaccinations, and then we could go back to the mortality/morbidity rates we had in the past, and we can all see the #’s for those with polio, loss of life, consequences of measles, whooping cough, hepatitis, etc.  Actually, with increased population, those might well be more dramatic.

      That would be an interesting “experiment”… on one hand, horrific… on the other hand, perhaps a tool towards ZPG, or NPG… if it was horrific enough, might even mitigate climate change… but to truly do that, we’d need to ban vaccinations throughout the world.

  2. Alan Miller

    My small “l” libertarian side really feels for the anti-vaxxers sentiment.  On fluoridation we would much agree, as that is inflicting upon the population when alternatives exist for those who want to fluoridate themselves.  In the case of vaxx, there are some diseases that truly need a critical mass of vaxxed for the good of the whole, and thus the antivaxxers are inflicting upon others – that’s just real.

  3. Don Shor

    The context that is missing from this account is the increasingly aggressive, occasionally violent behavior of the anti-vaccination protesters. Shoving the author of the bill, closing down both chambers of the legislature, flinging blood onto the senators are all documented events from last fall, when the bill was passed and signed by the governor. I can see how having an aggressive individual showing up at public locations over and over, in the face of the recent behavior of these protesters, could be of concern to a public official. In other words: it isn’t just the umbrella, and it isn’t just a matter of free speech.


    1. Alan Miller

      As a huge fan of the nonviolence as an effective means of protest, I much agree DS.  The quickest way to lose general public support on any issue is to go violent or aggressive.  Why not go flamboyant instead?  This is true of anti-vaxxers and Hong Kong protestors.  The reason Katehi lost and the students won is that the entire group stayed united in nonviolent resistance to the violence being levied upon them.  Had one protestor turned and attacked the cops, the entire Pepper Spray incident would have been an entirely different narrative.  That is why nonviolent resistors must be united and not allow for any violent factions, and must root out and disassociate both anarchists and government infiltrators.  Not an easy task!

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