A cadre of black Republican canvassers in Missouri has alleged that police have been preventing them from campaigning against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
According to LifeNews, Ryan Rhodes, leader of C3 PAC, told reporters on Monday that cops have harassed them in their door-to-door campaign to elect Attorney General Josh Hawley to the United States Senate, unseating two-term Democrat Claire McCaskill.
“We’ve had cops coming up to these kids, harassing them, telling them they cannot go door-to-door or they will be arrested,” Rhodes said. “[The cops] know what [our canvassers] are doing. We’ve told them what they’re doing. The cops have been basically threatening these kids with arrest if they continue doing it.”
Missouri currently remains a swing state in Tuesday’s election, with polls showing McCaskill and Hawley in an even tie, or Hawley with a small lead.
Harassment of the canvassers allegedly began in late October, with police stopping them mid-route. Out of 40 canvassers in the area who claim to have been harassed, all of them have been black. C3 PAC claims they have experienced at least eight run-ins with police in the past three weeks.
“We even have people canvassing in the same walk book, the same neighborhood, and they’ll stop the African-American and they will not stop the white,” said KaLeigh Long, leader of the ground effort in Missouri for C3 PAC. “They ended up arresting one of my guys. They said he had a warrant. Yet, all they did was pick him up on the white side of town and took him across the river into the black side of town and dropped him off. They never jailed him. They gave him a piece of paper with pencil written on it that said he had rolled through a stop sign so many years or months ago.”
To avoid the police, Long advised her black canvassers on staff to dress in more formal attire and finish the routes before dark. Aside from some conspiratorial action to keep McCaskill in power, Long says the police might be confused as to exactly what canvassers are doing. On several occasions, the police falsely asserted they need a permit, which they do not, since canvassing is protected by the 1st Amendment.
“[The police] told me that I needed a permit to canvass. They told that to three of the guys that they stopped. We’ve called the police stations. I went to one police station and told them they may be confusing us with a soliciting permit, but we are not soliciting, we are canvassing,” Long explained.
Rhodes claims police intervention has prevented them from knocking on thousands of doors. “We are out there canvassing for GOP candidates. For them to still consistently say ‘you cannot do this, you can’t do it’ to me, sounds like a combination of racism and voter suppression,” Rhodes said.
After Claire McCaskill opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, she has been working tirelessly to paint herself as an ambassador of Missouri values to D.C., to the point of separating herself from “crazy Democrats.”