Last night I reported this incident in which a campaign staffer with the campaign of Mike Siegel was arrested after delivering a letter about an on-going voting rights controversy to the County Judge’s office. I was able to speak to a representative of the Waller County Sheriff’s office who gave me their version of events.
According to Captain Manual Zamora of the Sheriff’s office, the staffer, Jacob Aronowitz was arrested and charged with “suspicious activity at the courthouse” after he failed to identify himself after being detained. They originally responded to a call from the County Judge’s office where Aronowitz had just dropped off the letter. Significantly, Zamora said the incident was the subject of a on-going investigation. He said he couldn’t discuss the nature of the investigation. (The Siegel campaign says the Deputies confiscated Aronowitz’s cell phone.)
Aronowitz and Siegel say Aronowitz originally refused to identify himself before he was told what he was being detained for but did identify himself prior to being arrested.
One of the key points I was interested in was the claim that a Sheriff’s deputy had asked Aronowitz the party affiliation of the candidate he worked for shortly before arresting him. Zamora said that was the first he’d heard of it and “highly doubted” that it happened. Zamora made clear that he hadn’t read the arrest report. So he could not say definitively that it didn’t happen. But he said such a question “would be highly unusual. That’s not part of our operating procedure.”
I pointed out that both Aronowitz and the candidate Mike Siegel heard the officer ask the question. (Siegel was dialed in on Aronowitz’s cell phone, advising him while he was detained.) Zamora told me, “I can’t really debate the issue … I doubt there would be any motivation like that. We don’t make arrested based on party affiliation.”
Asked for comment in response to the Captain Zamora’s remarks, Mike Siegel told me: “I heard it. Jacob heard it. I’m only left to wonder whether if he’d said Republican things would have turned out differently.”