Kate Hicks

Yesterday, Katie reported on the violence taking place at the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, as union members protested the passage of Right to Work legislation. Rather than peacefully demonstrating against a law they didn't like, unfortunately, a number of those present attacked the more conservative counter-protesters among them. But today, we learned more: the protesters also destroyed a hot dog stand kept by a Lansing staple named Clint Tarver.

Americans for Prosperity hired him to cater in their tent as they counter-protested, and when the tent came down, he was one of those trapped inside it. The protesters also destroyed much of his equipment, and worse, hurled racist insults his way.

During Tuesday's mass demonstrations that attracted an estimated 10,000 to the Capitol lawn, protesters of the right-to-work law the Legislature was passing and voting on tore down a tent rented by the Michigan chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Witnesses and Internet videos show protesters, some wearing union clothes, using knives or box cutters to cut the tent's ropes.

Clint Tarver, owner of Clint's Hot Dog Cart, said he was trapped inside as the tent came down and damaged about $400 in catering equipment. Tarver's hot dog cart, which is usually parked outside Lansing City Hall along Capitol Avenue, was not on the Capitol grounds during the incident. [...]

Tarver, who had to crawl out of the collapsed tent on his knees, was overwhelmed Wednesday by the outpouring of support.

"I had no idea so many people cared about 'the hot dog guy,'" Tarver said.

Tarver, who is black, said the protesters called him an "Uncle Tom" and the n-word for working for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group supporting the right-to-work law.

Someone present at the protest took a photo that has since gone viral, depicting Tarver picking up his equipment while the protesters look on:

Photobucket

As an East Lansing native, I have friends who work in the Capitol, and my father works just a few blocks away from where this all happened. (He actually stayed home from the office on Tuesday, the violence and chaos were so disruptive.) Everyone nearby could confirm that it was absolute madness, and a few of my friends posted this very photo this morning, as they're regular customers of "The Hot Dog Guy" and were upset to see what happened to him. For a better idea of who he is:

It's maddening that these protesters would destroy private property and scream obscenities at a man -- especially one so nice as this! -- just because they disagree with him, and it's unfortunate that this story hasn't had more coverage in the mainstream media.

That said, Tarver appeared on "The Dana Show" out of St. Louis today, and confirmed reports that he'd been attacked and degraded simply for doing his job:

If you'd like to help, someone started a page to help donate funds to replace his equipment, and given what a nice guy he is, it's well worth the money. Click here to help!


Kate Hicks

Kate Hicks is one of Townhall.com's web editors. You can follow her on Twitter @KateBHicks.