Uh-oh

As mentioned in the comments of a different post:

The press officer for Republican congressional candidate Bill Greene may face criminal charges after allegedly punching a pickup driven by the supporter of another candidate outside a Greene fundraiser Tuesday night, police said.

A Watkinsville police detective said Wednesday that Eric Spohn, 34, of Lawrenceville, may face criminal charges after hitting the back of a pickup driven by Brandon Phillips, 21.

Spohn acknowledged hitting the truck and offered to pay for the damage, but said he was acting in self-defense and felt his life was being threatened when Parker backed the truck toward him, according to a police report.

The confrontation happened at about 6:44 p.m., just before a fundraising dinner for Greene was scheduled to start in the Watkinsville Community Center, 191 VFW Drive.

Police said people at the fundraiser saw Phillips in a yard across the street putting up campaign signs for Jim Whitehead, one of Greene’s opponents in the June 19 special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood in the 10th Congressional District. Police identified Phillips as a Whitehead campaign volunteer.

79 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    This is what happens unfortunately sometimes when campaign staffers are a little too enthusiastic!

    Step away from the kool aid staffers!

  2. bowersville says:

    Looks like a Greene staffer got miffed, crossed the street onto private property and beat up a pick up truck when he felt threatened by a few campaign signs…wow!

    If Greene is in town, cover your signs or you’ll face the Spohn!!!!

  3. MidGaDawg says:

    Wait, he thought he thought the truck was going to run him over, so he PUNCHED it? And caused damage that needs to be paid for? I’m with Jacks Post — pretty bad ass.

    Remind me not to ever criticize the esteemed Mr. Greene.

  4. Kepper says:

    There was a time when I liked the idea of the minutemen. But, lately, after doing some research, i’m finding that these guys are just a bunch of thugs. If they will turn on their own citizens, as in this case, then apparently their agenda is a lot more broad that just keeping our borders protected. I was shocked at the minuteman link to Alan Keyes and how horribly they are managing their money…. if you want to call it that. I think i’m also piecing together Greene’s motives now. I don’t think he has any intention of winning the election. He’s apparently just gathering cash.

  5. GOPGrassroots says:

    Eric Spohn v. Brian Laurens in a sign war!

    Now that would be a good match up. Spohn can punch a truck but Brian probably out-weighs him, and I’ll bet he can steal more signs in a night.

  6. GOPGrassroots says:

    Eric Spohn v. Brian Laurens in a sign war! That would be a battle.

    Eric can punch trucks, but Brian out-weights him I’m sure and can steal more signs in a night than anyone.

  7. Seth Millican says:

    I want to clarify a few things from this article. First of all, Whitehead’s staffer’s name is Phillips, not Parker. This happened in Watkinsville, not Winterville.

    Apparently, Whitehead’s campaign had obtained permission from the owner of the home in who’s yard the signs were being placed. Whitehead’s staff arrived to place the signs and Phillips was immediately accosted by one of the candidates. The candidate followed him onto the homeowners property and eventually the homeowner stepped in and asked him to leave because of the abrasiveness of his approach. He left, stating that he would “send his minutemen.”

    Apparently the aforementioned Mr. Spohn was approaching the property again as Phillips was backing out of the driveway, “feared for his life,” and punched the truck (sidenote: pretty ballsy if you ask me).

    Quite frankly, it’s laughable that the police were called about this. It’s routine for campaign trucks to be returned to the lessor in much worse shape than when they were picked up. If a staffer wants to bust his knuckles on your fender, let him be that stupid.

    It appears that this is just a simple case of Greene getting one – upped on the grassroots. The Whitehead campaign learned he had an event, and obtained permission to place signs on private property right across the road, and then Greene and his minute – men got pissed. I got news for them: that ain’t nothing. I’ve worked alongside of many of Whitehead’s people, and opposite 🙂 some of them as well, and they’re very smart and hardworking. If Greene and his folks are going to get miffed about a simple sign placement at one of their events, they’ve got some serious maturity issues. AND they may ended up getting the stick on the legal end, too.

    Whitehead – 2, Greene – 0.

    Full Disclosure – I would vote for Whitehead given the opportunity.

  8. jsm says:

    This is why I love campaigns. I wouldn’t go to the extent of fighting over it (or punching a truck), but the rivalry and competitiveness of staffers on opposite sides is exhilarating. Everybody should experience volunteering for a competitive campaign once in their life. It sure does make a win ever so sweet.

  9. profg says:

    So much speculation, so little knowledge of the facts. So here are the facts.

    On the evening of May 22nd, the Greene for Congress campaign was holding a private fundraiser at the Community Center in Watkinsville, Georgia. A Whitehead campaign staffer, Brandon Phillips, arrived as it began and placed Whitehead campaign signs all around the building (NOT just in a private yard, we have the pictures) where the Greene fundraiser was being held. I approached the Whitehead staffer, who was standing by his truck in a private driveway getting more signs out, and asked him to take down the signs around our building, which he refused to do. Then the owner of that property asked me to step off of his property, which I did. As I left, I mentioned to him that (A) I’m sure Jim Whitehead would never approve of placing his signs all around the building where his opponent’s private function was being held, and (B) I’d hate to see them lose all that money, since the people inside the building would be coming out shortly to pull up the signs there were not on private property. (And yes, there were Minutemen inside as well, which Phillips knew in advance.)

    I went inside to greet all of our supporters, and our campaign manager, Eric Spohn, went out to take pictures of the signs and the truck’s license plate (to show Jim Whitehead what his people were doing), at which time the Whitehead staffer jumped into his truck, threw it into reverse, and attempted to run down Eric. Eric jumped out of the way at the last second, pushing off of the truck as it sped by, putting a small dent in the side.

    All of this happened right in front of the police station (which is attached to the Watkinsville Community Center, where our event was being held), the two of them were questioned, and they were asked if they were pressing charges against each other (against Phillips for assault with a deadly weapon and/or attempted vehicular manslaughter, against Eric for property damage). Eric said he didn’t want to have to do so if it could be solved between the two of them, as he didn’t want to have to bring all of his witnesses (some of whom were minors, there with their families as volunteers at the event) into court. Phillips, it turns out, couldn’t file charges, because it wasn’t his truck.

    So no one got into a fight. No one was arrested. No one filed charges. The signs were all removed (both the dozens surrounding our building, and from the yard of the private home — apparently, someone was simply paid off to put a sign up for the evening). Our event went great. We all went home.

    Unfortunately, this is just another example of politics as usual. What we had was a foolish young man, making several foolish mistakes. He was foolish to put dozens of signs around his boss’s opponent’s private event. He was foolish to try to stop the Greene for Congress campaign manager from taking pictures of his truck & license, by attempting to run him down. And he was foolish to think that this is how politics is done — which is what the voters of Georgia are sick and tired of. Jim Whitehead should do the right thing: this staffer should be fired (or if he was a volunteer, banned from the campaign), and I hope he learns his lesson and avoids foolishness in the future.

    That’s what happened. I was there. You weren’t. End of story.

    Except for one more thing: I called Jim Whitehead’s campaign several times, and left messages asking him to return my call, so we could discuss this incident. He hasn’t done so.

    Bill Greene

  10. Jmac says:

    The same response from Greene was posted at my blog. In all fairness, he articulates a rational response to the situation at hand.

    But, yes, I’d be curious to see these pictures, and I’d be curious to hear from the witnesses who were present … particularly the homeowner where this sorta went down.

  11. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    “Apparently the aforementioned Mr. Spohn was approaching the property again as Phillips was backing out of the driveway, “feared for his life,” and punched the truck (sidenote: pretty ballsy if you ask me). ”

    Sure Seth…Really smart to punch a moving truck. 😉

  12. Doug Deal says:

    So if the truck was indeed backing into a pedestrian, isn’t that vehicular assault, which I think is a felony. If they are charging the pedestrian with some form of vandalism, something about his story doesn’t mesh.

  13. I Am Jacks Post says:

    SETH: Bill, should the truck punching thing for a fundraising appeal?

    BILL: Heck yeah. Send out an email with the following text:

    URGENT! OTHER CAMPAIGNS ARE LITERALLY TRYING TO RUN ME OVER! I’M THE LEADING CONSERVATIVE IN THIS RACE. SEND MONEY NOW!

    SETH: Cool. I’ll do it. What list should we send it to?

    BILL: Send it to our house file. And send it to the Terri Schiavo list.

    SETH: You sure we should do that? Didn’t the Schiavo family ask you to stop profiting off the death of their daughter?

    Aaaaaaaand scene!

  14. Kepper says:

    @profg/Bill Greene:

    So, Phillips, who is a young campaign staffer doing his American duty by putting out campaign signs, felt threatened enough to “jump” in his truck, “throw” it in reverse, and attempt murder on someone by “aiming” his truck intentionally to hurt?
    Where did he go? Did he leave or did he stop after the “punch” on his truck was made?
    What evidence do you have the homeowner was “paid” to host the Whitehead sign?
    Where can we see the pictures? I would have posted those first thing today knowing the firestorm that was coming.
    Did you threaten Phillips (or anyone) with the minutemen?

  15. Holly says:

    Well, almost, Jmac. I see some holes.

    Firstly, Jim wasn’t around for that call, but Bill Greene did speak to other members of the Whitehead staff. To quote Bill Greene, “I know, I was there.”

    There were four police reports filed. Only one suggests that Brandon was trying to do harm to Eric Spohn. The other three reports don’t corroborate his.

    That said, if someone tries to kill you and you truly feel your life is endangered, it’s quite incredible that you’d just let it go at the drop of a hat and offer to pay for damages that you inflicted on the vehicle in question.

    Also, by Bill’s admission here, he was inside when he claims Brandon tried to run over his staffer, so I guess he wasn’t there to know if it really happened.

    By the way, since Bill is so concerned about Brandon’s employment status, has he fired Spohn – someone in this thirties – for his damage to the truck? If not, I fail to see how that can be classified as anything but “politics as usual” by Bill Greene. Anything less would be hypocritical, seeing as how he’s called for Brandon’s firing.

    I will say that in knowing Brandon, I would never believe he actually tried to run Spohn down with a vehicle. Secondly, he’s a little guy. From Brandon’t police report, the homeowner came out to call Bill off his property because Bill and Spohn – who are much larger than Brandon – were right in his face, threatening him with the Minutemen, and they did return with a Minuteman. For what reason, I’m not going to speculate.

    I will go back to my original assessment of this story: this should have stayed between Bill Greene and the homeowner. However, it didn’t, and now it’s become a spectacle for his campaign. There’s something to be said for holding tempers in check, isn’t there?

  16. Observer says:

    Bill Greene – stop blaming the Whitehead staffer. The Whitehead staffer got permission to put the sign on the private property you entered. You complained about that sign, not the others. If indeed the Whitehead staffer had tried to run over your henchman, he would have been charged by the police. He wasn’t because there were too many witnesses who saw what actually happened. Even the papers say it is your guy who faces charges.

    You are suffering from the same bad political instincts as Bush. When you are wrong, apologize. The American people are very forgiving. But when you deny wrong, or worse yet, blame someone else, that is when you are done.

    Bill Greene, you are done.

  17. bowersville says:

    I don’t have time to get into many details, but 1st, this event was on public property. If It was okay for Greene to place signs on public property, it fair game for any else.

    2nd, google “Eric Spohn” two things will jump at you. If it’s the same Spohn, that’s the 2007, 7th District Assist Treasurer, Spohn has witnessed the competitiveness of political campaigns and should know better.

    3rd, if it’s the same Spohn, was paid a fee by Right March PAC, operated by a one William Greene. Previous Redstate artcle on this as others, follow the money trail. Right March Pac takes on Romney and looses. Later!

  18. profg says:

    Holly, don’t be so goofy. You don’t fire someone for jumping out of the way when a truck is coming at him. You fire someone for making poor decisions in advance, like Brandon did.

    Jim might not been around for that call, but he could have had the decency to call me back about it, before it got to this point. He constantly makes a point about returning every phone call he’s gotten for 50 years or whatever, so I expected he’d return mine.

    This kid is 21 years old, and Eric spoke to him personally about how it would be best for him to keep this off of any record. That’s why he said he didn’t want to file charges, and that’s why he offered to pay for the dent (he’s already talked to the truck owner about doing so). An incredibly decent thing for him to do, if you ask me.

    No one got in Brandon’s face. If he said we did, he’s lying to you. No one “threatened” anyone with the Minutemen, except to say that the folks inside would be removing the signs surrounding the building. If he told you otherwise, he’s lying to you. No one “returned with a Minuteman,” except that the host of the event that night, who happens to be a Minuteman, did come out to see what was going on. Now you don’t have to “speculate,” Holly.

    Again, please note that no charges were filed on either side. This SHOULD have stayed between Eric and Brandon (NOT the homeowner and me, as you so coyly suggested, Holly — I was NEVER brought into this by the police at ALL), but now it’s become a spectacle for Peach Pundit, and has to be addressed directly to quell the nonsense coming from certain parties, if you know what I mean.

    Holly, you need to keep your petty partisanship out of this incident, and let the people who are actually involved in it settle it amicably. Thanks.

    By the way, the actual statement given by Eric to the police can be viewed here:

    http://www.billgreeneforcongress.com/SpohnStatement.pdf

    Eric explained quite clearly why he didn’t want to press charges, as I already explained in my first post. Please pay attention.

    BG

    P.S. Pics posting shortly.

  19. profg says:

    Observer: Stop blaming the Whitehead staffer, for trying to run down my campaign manager? Uh, sure.

    The only thing I complained about was the signs around our building. Don’t give a rip about the ones on private property.

    The police were willing to file the charges against the staffer, and Eric asked them not to, due to his age, inexperience, and foolishness.

    The only large group of witnesses to what actually happened were our volunteers. The two home-renters gave a statement as well, which supported Eric’s statement.

    And seriously… “Even the papers say”? Now I know you’re kidding.

    BG

  20. AlanR says:

    I’ll trust you when you apologize to Terri Schiavo’s family for abusing their trust. How much money did you personally make from the shameless exploitation of her name?

    I wouldn’t take your word for anything.

  21. AlanR says:

    Bill:

    Since you’re reading this blog, where did you get your Phd? The one you use for credibility when you write for things like Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. What accredited institution granted this degree? Where can I find your 300 page dissertation?

    You want to be a member of congress, you should tell use about your qualifications.

  22. Holly says:

    Bill Greene,

    Hello, again! I noticed you didn’t come over and speak to me at the GA GOP convention, but I was right at the Whitehead booth. Perhaps next time?

    But let me answer you on a few things that bother me:

    By your estimation, I should keep my “petty partisanship” – an explanation of Brandon’s police report – off the boards, but yours should somehow be treated differently? Hm.

    I clearly stated Brandon’s position, but if you’re to be heeded, we’re supposed to only go with one side of the story unchecked, even if the other stories don’t match it? Again, hm.

    Also, if this is your version of amicable, a third “hm” is in order. You see, people take clues from the words used in posts. The words you used to describe the incident were anything but amicable.

    Now, let’s add “goofy”, “coy”, and “petty” to the growing list of things you – a candidate for public office – have directly said about me on Peach Pundit. For what it’s worth, you never did answer me when I asked you to explain your comment directed at me about my “compromising” my principles by supporting Jim. I don’t really expect you to have the decency to do so now, but it’s fair to point it out with all your name-calling.

    Thirdly, I definitely didn’t give this incident to Peach Pundit as you’ve hinted. If you look over at the other thread, it was not anyone from the Whitehead staff or a close friend of the Whitehead staff who linked the article. That was a long-time PP reader. I wouldn’t even know how to contact him/her. But I guess since the truth doesn’t fit here, false insinuation takes its place? Don’t worry, I am not holding my breath for an apology from you.

    Funny how the nastier insults are hurled at you by others and not me, yet you choose to only answer and insult me. I really scare you, don’t I? I find that amusing, as I hope the others on this board who know me do. I’m relatively harmless! 🙂

    Anyway, I hope the rest of your day goes well. See you around, Bill!

    Holly

  23. Jmac says:

    Technically, petty partisanship doesn’t exist within one political party.

    I do have a question about the signs. If the building was a public building, even if it was being used by the Green campaign for that evening, doesn’t bowersville’s comment ring true? That anyone is within their right to post those signs there and the only one who can restrict their placement are the officials who operate that building.

    Either way, wouldn’t the more logical approach have been to wait until Phillips left, simply remove his signs and place them on the side for another Whitehead staffer to get later? Perhaps Phillips was planning to stay and this was out of the question, who knows.

  24. Holly says:

    You know, Icarus, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to meet you last Friday night, but I forgot about bringing the cookies, anyway. Next time!

  25. Icarus says:

    I made a brief appearance, but decided I couldn’t drink enough to make the place interesting. Next time it is.

  26. Kepper says:

    It’s 3:30 PM where I am and still no photos of those “dozens” of Whitehead campaign signs that little Brandon Phillips supposedly planted all over the Watkinsville Community Center…….

  27. geeze, this is how rumors get started and is the best argument that i’ve heard all year for increased funding for Georgia’s Court, Mental Health and Ethics Systems.

  28. I Am Jacks Post says:

    None of this would’ve happened if we were still funding Midnight Basketball programs.

  29. griftdrift says:

    I want to see some pictures!

    I’m working on a theory that now that we purged all the crazy from the 4th it has somehow seeped over to the 10th.

  30. HungarianAngel says:

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, an old Jimmy Stewart classic, depicts a down home sort who is elected by friends and family who believe in him. Then goes on to make a name for himself by standing up for truth, justice and the American way (so, I don’t remember the exact issue…) by filibustering personally for a really long time.

    Despite the facts and opinions of this scenario, it’s nice to see a candidate willing to stand up for the people who believe in him (to the point of death?!!) and won’t give in.

    Makes me wonder when his primary opponent (as in main, not referring to the election) has missed more multi-candidate events than he has made and hasn’t uttered a word of support for the intrepid efforts of his staffer (against the ferociousness of the “Enforcer.”)

    If Greene does make it to Washington, at least his constituents know he will stand up for what he believes in and not shut up about it. Go Mr. Smith!!

  31. bowersville says:

    Yes, and If you don’t believe he will not shut-up and ONLY support the self chosen one, he’ll send the enforcer to prove it.

    You’ve got your movies mixed up, the Greene Watkinsville fracas, more closely resembles “The Man who shot Liberty Valence.”

    If Greene goes to Washington it will be the same as if Liberty Valence went to Washington instead of Jimmy Stewart. It’s not going to happen!

  32. Holly says:

    Hungarian Angel, Jim’s missed one multi-candidate event, so has Bill Greene. That would make them even.

  33. AlanR says:

    Bill hasn’t been back since I asked about his academic credentials. I wonder if his absence is related to my question? Or maybe he realizes he can’t fool Holly and has given up?

    What was the title of your dissertation and which university library holds it?

  34. I Am Jacks Post says:

    Hungarian Angel,

    As to your estimation that Bill Greene is a modern Mr. Smith–I missed the scene in Capra’s classic in which the film’s star, Mr. Smith, begins profiting off the the name of a dying woman.

  35. bowersville says:

    Bill Greene missed the Hartwell Republican forum, my Whitehead sticker was on my shirt, I’m glad that nice attractive lady was there for Greene and not that Eric Spohn character.

    I like my truck and would hate it if it was damaged because of my Whitehead sticker.

  36. Kepper says:

    It’s 8:03 AM the next day where I am and still no photos of those “dozens” of Whitehead campaign signs that little Brandon Phillips supposedly planted all over the Watkinsville Community Center…….

  37. Kepper says:

    @griftdrift: Apparently, he’s locked ‘er down….

    {linux4:bld 88 } ftp http://www.billgreeneforcongress.com
    Connected to billgreeneforcongress.com.
    220———- Welcome to Pure-FTPd [TLS] ———-
    220-You are user number 1 of 50 allowed.
    220-Local time is now 12:17. Server port: 21.
    220-This is a private system – No anonymous login
    220-IPv6 connections are also welcome on this server.
    220 You will be disconnected after 15 minutes of inactivity.
    500 This security scheme is not implemented
    500 This security scheme is not implemented
    KERBEROS_V4 rejected as an authentication type
    Name (www.billgreeneforcongress.com:bld): anonymous
    421 Service not available, remote server has closed connection
    Login failed.
    No control connection for command: No such file or directory
    ftp>

  38. bowersville says:

    The Pundit has just received an emergency request for assistance.

    Grift, Rusty, Amber and Spacey, please contact Bill Greene immediately, he’s locked down.

  39. Icarus says:

    You have to look really quick in the corner between seconds 2 and 3 to see the black hawk helicopters in the background.

  40. AlanR says:

    And this from someone who claims to be an expert on campainging on the internet. Remind our candidates to think about this before they hire SICM.

  41. HungarianAngel says:

    Jack’s–

    I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time…very well done!

    Ok, I have to go watch it again…

  42. Holly says:

    The last one still doesn’t show up because there’s a missing “/”. The link should read http://www.billgreeneforcongress.com/images/GreeneVolunteers181.jpg . It’s a picture of grass.

    One of the four pictures shows seven signs. (The others show gravel, the back of the truck, and grass.) Since Brandon was no longer at the building, and was across the street in private property, the ideal thing to have done would’ve been as Jmac suggested – to take them down and wait for someone to pick them up later – rather than go over to the yard and start yelling at him.

    Yes, I can see how Brandon putting the signs up was annoying. However, that doesn’t give Spohn the right to punch the vehicle, and it certainly doesn’t give anyone the right to accuse Brandon of attempted vehicular homicide – a felony, I believe – and Jim of abetting a staffer who attempts vehicular homicide.

    If you’re going to say such things about people, you’d better have the proof to back it up, and that proof needs to be more than 1/5 of a police report from a staffer accused of property damage. I’d caution that if that’s all you’ve got going for your side, you’re going to come out on the short end of the stick when it’s all said and done.

  43. blazer says:

    Bill,

    You really are upset that there were signs on the right-of-way next to your signs???

    If you had pulled his off of the right of way, should Phillips have pulled yours off of the r-o-w as well???

    All of us here who have been on campaigns know that if you are going to have an event, expect the opponent to know about it and you should expect them to sign it. It’s just the way things are.

    Bill, your campaign is obviously a joke. You have a manager who can’t control himself. (He punched a truck…) You can’t control yourself. (You verbally confronted a young man about putting a sign up on private property. You have come on a blog and attacked posters calling them goofy and other childish names.)

    I’d like to go on record and say that you won’t win this election…

  44. Jace Walden says:

    Wow, from what I’ve read on this thread, Bill Greene is a snide jackass. Why in the hell would anyone in their right mind vote for such an idiot?

  45. Bill Simon says:

    Jace,

    Fortunately for screwballs like Bill Greene, it is not a requirement in the voting laws for people to be IN “their right mind.”

    In fact, for anyone to vote for someone like Greene they MUST be nowhere near a “right state of mind.”

  46. GOPaide says:

    So let me see….the campaign starts out with a staff and HQ….then, an inexperienced staffer with only volunteer experience talks Greene into getting rid of both staff and HQ…followed by massive amounts of debt and then the Conservative Values coordinator assaults someone….classic! I would cut your losses, send Miss Austin back to doing voice overs and go back to spamming Mr. Greene. Someone should stick a fork in you, as it appears you are done.

  47. Bill Simon says:

    Angel,

    Umm…the only way my comment would register as “irony” would be that I am or have been a candidate for public office. Since neither has ever occurred, nor will they ever occur, there is no “irony.”

  48. Darth Mike says:

    Just read the article…

    did he really pull the…South Park “You can hit anything as long as you say “Its coming right for us” defense”??????

    wow, now he just needs to hire a liar, I mean a lawyer, to argue the Chewbacca defense and he will have to be acquitted.

  49. Kepper says:

    Is Greene serious with these pictures? For crying out loud, he could have taken a pic of those signs in Whitehead’s driveway in Evans for all we know. It’s hardly compelling evidence that the JW campaign saturated the community center with signs. This is really weak evidence and poor photography in my opinion.

  50. mci says:

    Bill Greene is a guy who runs around calling himself “Dr. Greene” when in fact his alleged Ph.D. is from a scam Internet diploma mill that he himself was involved in operating. So you can pretty much take that as an indication of what his word is worth.

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