Audience members escorted out of Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., campaign event in Cedar Falls questioned why they were asked to leave Sunday’s rally even though they were not protesting.
David Zarifis, director of public safety for the University of Northern Iowa, said McCain staffers requested UNI police assist in escorting out “about four or five” people from the rally prior to McCain’s speech.
Zarifis said while the people who were taken out weren’t protesting or causing problems, McCain’s staff were worried they would during the speech.
“Apparently, they had been identified by those staffers as potential protesters within the event,” Zarifis said.
Lara Elborno, a student at the University of Iowa, said she was approached by a police officer and a McCain staffer and was told she had to leave or she would be arrested for trespassing.
Elborno said even McCain supporters were among those being asked to leave.
“I saw a couple that had been escorted out and they were confused as well, and the girl was crying, so I said ‘Why are you crying? and she said ‘I already voted for McCain, I’m a Republican, and they said we had to leave because we didn’t look right,’” Elborno said. “They were handpicking these people and they had nothing to go off of, besides the way the people looked.”