Protest leads to arrest at state fair
Greg Johnson - Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman
August 27, 2010
PALMER — A 52-year-old Palmer man who was arrested while protesting at the Alaska State Fair has become a minor YouTube celebrity in the Valley.
Sidney Hill is familiar to local residents as the gentleman who spends most of his days on the corner of the Palmer-Wasilla and Glenn highways with his large “Impeach Obama” sign. When he brought that banner to the first day of the fair, he drew a crowd.
An altercation with fair security, caught on a more than nine-minute video and posted on YouTube, led to his arrest on charges of fourth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and trespassing, said Cmdr. Tom Remaley of the Palmer Police Department. The video has also sparked criticism that state fair security personnel used excessive force in detaining Hill.
From watching the video, Remaley said he doesn’t feel the force used was excessive.
“I don’t know why security wanted him to leave, but he was yelling that he had his right to free speech,” Remaley said. “He also had a handgun on him, and they took him into custody. There were trying to get him on the ground and felt the gun.”
That’s when it appears fair security went from trying to escort Hill from the fairgrounds to taking him to the ground, Remaley said.