PLATTSBURGH — Although he may be a long shot in the race for the 21st Congressional District seat, Donald Hassig won’t let much get in his way of spreading his message.
Not even handcuffs.
Hassig, 56, was arrested last week after refusing to leave a public park in St. Lawrence County, where he was preaching the dangers of pollution.
“Apparently, the Constitution does not trump anything in Parishville,” he said Monday.
State Police charged Hassig with trespassing, a violation, on July 30, following an incident at a beach-side park in the Town of Parishville.
The Green Party candidate had set up a three-fold board depicting the dangers of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and was explaining the information to people who passed by.
He said he set up at the far end of the park and was not harming anyone.
“I was dancing to call attention, so people might be interested,” he explained. “I was dancing for love of the earth and reaching up to the sky for guidance.”
‘WON’T BACK DOWN’
Hassig said he was told by Parishville Recreation Director Jeff Woods that he could not be in the park, but he refused to leave. The police were called and took him into custody.
“I played Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ to greet them (police) when they came,” Hassig said.
“They handcuffed me tight and put me in the back of their car.”
Hassig was given an appearance ticket and released.
Neither Woods nor Town Supervisor Jerry Moore could be reached for comment.
This was not the first time Hassig has been arrested for trespassing or disorderly conduct.
“I’ve been arrested millions of times,” he said.
But he won’t stop his fight to preach his beliefs.
“There are no places left where you can practice free speech,” he said.
“I am going to change that.”
Neither incumbent Democrat Bill Owens or Republican candidate Matt Doheny would comment on Hassig’s arrest.
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