Why Haven’t The Etheridge Filmmakers Filed Criminal Charges ?

As Glenn Greenwald points out, the actions of Congressman Bob Etheridge that were captured on video clearly constitute assault and battery:

That’s a clear case of assault and battery (the unedited video from the first camera is here).  There is some speculation that the individuals questioning him have some connection to the right-wing organization of Andrew Breitbart.  I hope it goes without saying how irrelevant that is.   The only reason I think this is worth noting is this:  imagine what would have happened to those students if this situation had been reversed, and it was they who had physically assaulted Rep. Etheridge, rather than the other way around. How quickly would they have been arrested and prosecuted?  The application of our laws isn’t supposed to depend upon who is perpetrating the crime and who the victim is.  Obviously, there are few principles, if there are any, more discarded than that one in Washington, but it would be nice to see its being applied in this instance by having this Congressman, obviously inebriated with an extreme sense of entitlement, arrested and charged.

The problem is that charges can’t be filed without witness statements, and so far the witnesses haven’t come forward.

So gentlemen, the ball is in your court.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Steve Plunk says:

    I’d want to line up good legal representation before filing charges. It’s very likely these two will become targets and need to be prepared. Rushing into something now could be disastrous for them.

    The ball is really not in their court. They may not want to file charges and feel the congressman has already paid enough of a price. They have no obligation to file charges.

  2. Vast Variety says:

    Why press charges when you can hype it up more by dragging it out as long as possible.

  3. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    The court of public opinion will be far more punitive than anything the judicial system could hand out.

  4. Locomotive Breath says:

    Maybe the treatment “Joe the Plumber” got has had a chilling effect.