On 9/2/12, at approximately 7:30 p.m., REO Speedwagon played at the Walworth County Fair, in Elkhorn, WI. I went along with my girlfriend to watch them play. The charge to watch them play was $9.00 a person at the gate, and that gained you entry to be able to see REO play.
We planned on standing and watching, like a approximately few hundred other people chose to do as well. It was obviously impossible to get right up front and center, unless you paid the premium to do so. There were at least a hundred other people standing in the immediate area we chose to stand. There were no signs indicating no one could be there. An older woman sitting in a fold up chair started yelling that we had better get out of her way. Other people looked at her, and ignored her.
She continued yelling, and I told her I paid the same $9 as she did to be there, and the only difference is she wants to sit and I want to stand. Well she didn't like this one bit. She went over to the security people, and spoke to one in particular. This guy, who was not wearing a name tag, but had a bright yellow shirt that said security, came up to me and told me and my girlfriend we had to move. I told him I paid to be there just like everyone else, and that if I had to move, he should be making the other hundred people move also . He got in my face, within inches, and told me if I got an attitude with him that we would be kicked out. We moved over about a foot, just like he asked, and he walked away and went back with his other security friends.
The woman who initially had a problem with us blocking her view, was still blocked by other people who we were standing right next to. She continued to yell at me in particular, saying she would stick her son & law on us if we didn't move. I decided that since I was already making a video, which was allowed, and many of the few thousand people there were doing the same thing, I turned my video toward her since she wanted to keep talking loud, and be disorderly.
This really made her mad, and she flew out of her chair and got in my face while I was still recording thankfully. She said she was going to "have my a*s kicked out." It turns out her son & law was the security guy she kept walking over to. Other people standing next to us were sticking up for us and were saying that we hadn't done anything wrong, and in our defense were asking what we supposedly did wrong.
Her son and law security guard came up to me (on my video) and got right up in my face, and said "your outta here." I asked him what I did wrong. He said you can't take pictures of other people. I said I wasn't taking pictures. (I took a approximately six second video of her when she started being disorderly and trying to provoke an altercation.) Another security person who was with him said to move back out of her way. Now what about all the other people who are now standing in her way? He then made what I took as a threatening comment saying on video "you're gonna leave here one way....." I told him to ask all these people around us what we did wrong. After I asked him what I did wrong, which he couldn't answer, he goes "one more time and you're leavin." This whole time we were being talked to by this guy, he placed his hands on me and kept pushing on me. I told him not to touch me.
I have video to show that there were several (maybe 30-40+ people standing where we were asked to move farther back from, whom paid the same as us to be in that location.
At another point in the video, it shows I was standing there doing absolutely nothing wrong for several minutes, and it shows the same mother in law going up to the security guy in law of hers once again. A guy standing next to me laughs and goes "uh oh, you're gonna get kicked out again" because he saw the woman going to to her son & law security. You can hear the mother & law yelling at me in the background, but it is illegible on the video because of the band playing.
We are then approached about 15 minutes later or so by a security guy in a red hat and the son & law, as well as two others. He told me to come with him. Again, we were standing there minding our own, doing nothing wrong. He starts out by telling me it was real simple and that I couldn't take pictures of other people. I told him I hadn't done anything wrong, and hadn't taken pictures or anything of the mother & law. He says "well they said you have been."
The security officer of the mother & law grabbed my arms and starts chest bumping me and pushing me. He is telling me to leave, and I tell him to get his hands off me and I will go. He then stands in front of me blocking my exit, and tells me I can't leave." I feel at this point I am being illegally detained and touched by this security. As you can see on my video, they then start trying to knock my camera out of my hands because I told them their actions are being recorded.
The whole time he could not explain that I was doing anything wrong, just that his mother & law said I was filming her. Which I did for about 6 seconds, and only once, because she was being loud and disorderly toward me and my girlfriend. My camera had stopped recording because of the fact the two security people were batting at my camera and trying to grab it from my hands.
I then decided to report the matter to the local police who were stationed at the fairgrounds. I told them we felt we were being harassed, and that we were not there for any problems, but just to enjoy the show like everyone else was there to do, except for the beligerant mother & law apparently. The police told us they agreed we didn't do anything wrong, and they actually ESCORTED us back in so we could finish watching REO play. Now had the security people been able to articulate that we had done something wrong, there is no way the police would escort us back in after the security people told us to leave. The police then watched from behind for a few minutes to make sure we were not bothered again before they finally went about their business.
I have contacted the Walworth county fair board via their contact form on their webpage and wrote them a letter expressing my disgust and outrage over how we were treated by the security staff. I sent still pictures of the above mentioned security officers to the female who replied requesting such pictures. I was told that my letter would be shared with the board when they meet next.
I do feel we were harassed by this woman and her son & law security officer. I don't feel they had a right to place hands on my harms and get right in my face, or try to knock my camera from my hands. The Son & Law security guard also stepped on my girlfriends foot (she was wearing flip flops) while he was pushing us, causing her pain to her foot. I was able to capture as much as I could on video to support my version of events. I haven't decided whether or not I want to post my video on to other internet resources yet or not.
Other fair patrons came up to us after we had been escorted back in my police and said "we were being harassed" and that "it was wrong of them to treat us that way." I even told the police officers prior to taking us back in that I would take them to where we were standing, and they could ask the witnesses directly next to me and behind me, etc., if I or my girlfriend had done anything wrong. The police seemed to take my word for it because if I was really misbehaving, would I tell them to ask witnesses that were next to me?