Anti-Vaccination Activists in Court Again, Facing Serious Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

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By Crescenzo Vellucci
Vanguard Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Two militant anti-vaccination activists were in court here this week – and a third one is in the wings – facing felony and misdemeanor counts following loud, in-your-face, and violent protests last Fall over legislation that more severely limits opportunities for parents who oppose vaccination to exempt their children.

Thursday, Mike Mattingly, an activist from the Bay Area, traveled to Sacramento County Superior Court to face misdemeanor resisting arrest charges he incurred at a protest in the Capitol. His case has been continued to March 3, largely because the California Highway Patrol has not submitted surveillance video footage.

There have been dozens of arrests at the Capitol over the past few years – most recently the Poor People’s Campaign – and the District Attorney chose not to file, or not pursue charges, dismissing the charges. But anti-vaccination protests, which also broke out last month, are becoming a regular thing at the Capitol.

But facing much more serious charges than Mattingly is Rebecca Dalelio, who allegedly threw blood in September on Senators below her on the Senate floor as part of an anti-vaccination direct action – about a dozen lawmakers said they were hit by the red substance.

Appearing briefly this week, she learned she has to return Feb. 24 for arraignment on the felony vandalism and assault on public officials charges. In the meantime, the DA office sought and received a stayaway order for Dalelio from the State Capitol grounds. The DA office said it may seek a stayaway from the district offices of 10 lawmakers.

One of the lawmakers was Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), target number one for those opposed to increasingly stringent laws requiring vaccinations for school-age children – Pan not only supports state laws making it more difficult for parents to get exemptions for their kids to avoid the vaccinations but he is the author of that legislation. And he makes appearances nationwide urging stiffer laws mandating vaccinations.

Pan did get a restraining order from Sacramento Superior Court against activist Kenneth Bennett, who is now barred from coming within a football length’s distance from the lawmaker, his Capitol and District offices, home and car.

And Bennett has more problems – he has a Jan. 30 court date after stalking Pan and another lawmaker when they were headed to a function in downtown Sacramento. He then used his cellphone to video them and is accused of shoving Pan. Bennett was arrested for battery.

Pan has said Bennett’s “unlawful violence…caused me to suffer substantial emotional distress as I am extremely fearful for my safety.”

Pan has told news media he welcomes visits by people with questions or concerns about any legislation, even vaccinations, but doesn’t support what he calls “violence.”

“If we make policy based on conspiracy theories, that’s not good for our country. That’s not good for society. Policy needs to be grounded in truth,” Pan said. “We need to be clear: bullying and intimidation of this kind is unacceptable.”

State Senator Jim Beall (D-Campbell) filed for an injunction months ago against Mattingly, but the activist successfully argued his free speech was more important than Beall’s fear. In the end, Judge Philip Stanger denied Beall’s request for an injunction.

Mattingly has said 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, in civil court.

Beall sought the 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 said 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, asked Beall and staff questions.

“As a result of these incidents in which Mattingly has committed unlawful (acts), 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.

In civil court, Mattingly said he “showed the collusion between police and Beall” and said he believed it “was harassment…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 from the senate balcony, I couldn’t invade his personal 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.


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13 thoughts on “Anti-Vaccination Activists in Court Again, Facing Serious Felony and Misdemeanor Charges”

      1. John Hobbs

        Until reason and science once again rule, shunning, shaming and denial of access will have to do for now, I guess. Anti-vaxxers are anarchists and terrorists. For me, if I knew an un-vaccinated person was in a public space, I would loudly announce their presence while video recording the event and posting it on social media. I might even go so far as to make and post warning notices with their photos and names. I don’t believe I could be forced to rent a home to them or offer them accommodation in a restaurant, either.

        Stupidity and ignorance and insipid tolerance will surely be the end of western civilization.

        1. Eric Gelber

          So you advocate intolerance of beliefs deemed to be stupid and ignorant. I would suggest that, in a free society, what should not be tolerated is such intolerance.

        2. Eric Gelber

          I also believe in the value of science and factual data. But, keep in that the science and reason of the day have also been used to justify such things as eugenics, forced sterilization of people with disabilities, genocide, and the Holocaust. So, I’m not sure I’d go so far as to advocate that we should be “ruled” only by science and the prevailing reason of the day. We must also consider ethical values and principles that are not simply science-based.

  1. John Hobbs

    “So you advocate intolerance of beliefs ”

    So you are ok with beliefs in female genital mutilation, white supremacy and jihad?

    “We must also consider ethical values and principles”

    And the anti-vaxxers “ethical values and principles” assert their right to materially threaten your and your children’s rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These sort of “do your own thing” cults are imminent threats to human survival.

    1. Eric Gelber

      So you are ok with beliefs in female genital mutilation, white supremacy and jihad?

      Are you serious? I implied no such thing. What I’m OK with is freedom of expression, which itself has limitations (e.g., hate speech, defamation). I may not agree with those who oppose vaccinations, but I support their right to express their beliefs.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Add the beliefs that it is ok to “bully”, intimidate, lynch lesser forms of life (belief they’re not truly human), murder, cheat, steal, etc.  Lines need to be drawn, with no “tolerance”.

      We do not “force” anyone to be vaccinated… in fact, there are a rare few where that could approach ‘murder’… we give choices.  Tolerant.  If you don’t get vaccinations, it is your God-given right… and it is every other member of society’s right to exclude those who choose not to (unless there is the rare and TRUE medical reason why not), from public accommodations… one person’s “shunning” may actually be “informed self defense”!

      I’d even go farther, John, in not requiring insurance plans, and preventing government, from paying for medical treatment for diseases that could have been prevented if an individual (absent the rare medical justification why they could not) had been vaccinated.  That would not be ‘intolerant’, it would be ‘logical consequences’.

      And in many areas, I’m perceived as a ‘semi-flaming liberal’…

      I am not, and should not be expected to be, “tolerant” of behaviors (or lack thereof) that puts me, mine, and others in the community, at preventable risk.

      Maybe I’m having ‘unconscious bias’ by having vaccinations available… some of my ‘acquired immunity/protection’ is due to lack of immunizations available, against mumps, measles, chickenpox… I was immunized as a kid, from smallpox, tetanus, polio… that has been working fine for me… as an aging adult (always good to age, given the alternative), have been doing the flu shot thing (designed to protect not just me, but the public), and boosters/vaccinations to minimize chances of tetanus, shingles, and pneumonia.

      It’s important to recall he reason why they are called “vaccinations”… when smallpox was endemic/epidemic in Europe, killing or ‘maiming’/disfiguring hundreds of thousands (or more), a guy named Jenner noted that during a severe outbreak of smallpox, that milkmaids seemed to be ‘spared’… they had had cowpox… so he gave folk cowpox… hence the term ‘vaccination’, and possibly one of the roots of the term “herd immunity”.

      Smallpox is virtually unknown in the world today… but that could change if anti-vaxers dominate.  In the US, polio is virtually unheard of… yet until the 60’s it was all too common.  One president had it, and a close family friend contracted it in the 50’s.  That too, could re-emerge. Etc.

  2. John Hobbs

    “And in many areas, I’m perceived as a ‘semi-flaming liberal’…”

    Moi aussi!

    “I am not, and should not be expected to be, “tolerant” of behaviors (or lack thereof) that puts me, mine, and others in the community, at preventable risk.”

    There are important difference between open minds and empty ones.

  3. John Hobbs

    Stupid editing timer! I also had those now preventable illnesses as a child in Canada, I’m told the mumps near;y killed me and would wish them upon anyone. The fact that I can go into my corner drugstore and get shingles, flu and pneumonia vaccines for a couple of bucks seems miraculous to me.

  4. Eric Gelber

    Definition of anti-vaxxer
    : a person who opposes vaccination or laws that mandate vaccination.

    Merriam-Webster.com.

    Lets not lose sight of where this comment string began. It was with John Hobbs’ assertion that anti-vaxxers are terrorists and should suffer consequences for holding those beliefs.

    Not all anti-vaxxers have school-aged children. Most who do will end up complying with the law—by having their children vaccinated, obtaining lawful medical exemptions or, in very few instances, home-schooling their children. Should we be punishing people for their beliefs or opinions if they otherwise are complying with the law?

    How about other beliefs on issues that pose far greater existential threats—e.g., climate change denial or, in my view, Trumpism?

    Those who violate vaccination laws or any other laws should suffer consequences. But it’s a slippery slope if we start punishing people for expressing their beliefs and opinions, which is what John Hobbs’ initial comments propose.

    1. John Hobbs

      They are quite free to express their beliefs but not to practice them to the detriment of others or to incite others to practice them against the public welfare. I am aware of people who publicly proclaim that black people and Jews are inherently evil and should be suppressed by any means necessary. They are free to make such observations but gratefully I can act lawfully to drop them in the streets like leaden turds if they try to practice them. ;>)/

      “How about other beliefs on issues that pose far greater existential threats—e.g., climate change denial or, in my view, Trumpism?”

      I have often expressed my belief that Trumpkins should be re-educated before being allowed to re-enter polite society and the voting rolls.  In view of the recent inactions by GOP members of congress, I would be fine outlawing the whole party. I am fine dragging treasonous tyrants from the palace and taking them through the streets to the public gallows. (I love to have the rotten vegetable concession) Then he really would draw the largest crowd ever on the mall.

       

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