Ron Paul supporters scuffled with Central Republican Chairman Eugene Dokes and his wife Tuesday morning before a St. Peters municipal trial.
Brent Stafford in St. Peters municipal court Tuesday morning. The charge stems from an arrest after the St. Charles County Republican Caucus March 17.
Stafford, a Ron Paul supporter, said the caucus was improperly shut down. Stafford said he was trying to legally reconvene the caucus on the parking lot when he was arrested.
Community and Media Relations Officer Melissa Doss said four protesters were near the before and during Tuesday’s trial, and some were carrying Eugene Dokes campaign signs that had been defaced. The signs had red circles and a slash through “Dokes for State Representative.”
Dokes is a candidate for the reconfigured 70th District in the Missouri House of Representatives.
She said Dokes’ wife, Kenyota, confronted the men.
“One protester in particular began arguing with her and some pushing and shoving broke out,” Doss said. “At this point, it’s unclear who started what. At some point, Dokes’ wife and the protester became involved in a shoving match.”
“But there were no arrests made and no injuries,” Doss said.
Doss said the Dokes said the signs had been stolen.
“There’s probably no way we can prove the signs were stolen,” Doss said. “Anyone can go out and get a campaign sign.”
Dokes said he knows the signs were stolen because his campaign gives out only smaller yard signs.
“The bigger ones, the four-by-eights and the two-by-fours, we don’t give those away,” Dokes said. “We take them out and place them ourselves. Those are the signs they had, and the only way they could have gotten them is to take them from where we placed them or take them from my garage.”
The signs also read “Paid for by Missourians for Eugene Dokes,” he said.
Doss noted the Ron Paul supporter said that Eugene Dokes assaulted him.
Stafford said he saw Dokes aggressively and repeatedly shoving the protester, who was larger than Dokes, and the man had to take four to five steps to regain his balance.
Dokes said after he spotted three men in Ron Paul T-shirts holding his defaced campaign signs he talke to his opponent in the Republican primary race—Tyler Holyfield—to see if he could address the situation. However, Dokes said Holyfield told him he didn’t know the men and had nothing to do with the protesters.
He asked a St. Peters Police officer if he could retrieve the signs and get the men’s names because they had been stolen. That’s when his wife drove by and saw the signs, Dokes said.
“She knew the signs had been stolen, too,” Dokes said. “We’ve had problems with signs disappearing.”
Kenyota Dokes got out of the car and confronted the men, Dokes said.
“One guy, he was bigger than me and a lot bigger than my wife, he started shoving her and hitting her in the face with the sign,” he said.
Dokes said he saw the man strike his wife in the face with the sign and he rushed to her aid.
Doss said the responding St. Peters officer will complete his report and tomorrow will confer with others to decide what charges, if any, will be pursued against the separate parties.
Stafford’s trial has been held over until the next municipal court date at 6:30 p.m. July 31.
“Some of the testimony was drawn out,” Stafford told Patch. “I wish we had gotten further along. Some of the questions had to be repeated or rephrased. But the judge said we’ll finish it (on July 31) if we have to go to midnight.”
Stafford commented on Ron Paul supporters donating money to support his legal defense.
“The Missouri Freedom Center isn’t charging me anything for legal representation, but they have costs and the money raised goes to support them,” Stafford said.
He said one fundraising effort paid for a privately supplied court reporter to work at the trial because municipal courts typically do not provide one.
“I’m thankful there’s a lot of people supporting us. These are real constitutional issues that are involved. On one hand, it’s a petty, personal thing against me. But on the other hand, it’s as basic as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly,” Stafford said.