Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Library Worker Defends Patron’s Free Speech, Is Brutally Arrested in Library Where He Works


“For someone to be assaulted and then arrested for asking a question, in a public library of all places, is abhorrent. The library should be a place where people of all points of view can feel safe and welcome,” Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming at the Kansas City Public Library told the Dissent NewsWire.

But that is exactly what happened during a question and answer session with former Bush Administration official and current Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow Dennis Ross, when a local activist was arrested after asking Ross a question.

“I have spent the last 10 years of my life trying to cultivate that atmosphere through public programming at the library. Library staff should be the final arbiters of what constitutes reasonable discourse at a public event held inside a public library,” Woolfolk explained to the Dissent NewsWire. Yet, when he tried to intervene on the questioner’s behalf, Woolfolk found himself arrested at an event he helped plan.

The Kansas City Public Library is no stranger to hosting events, sometimes with controversial speakers.