Ken Hamidi, the state worker at the center of a scuffle that took place at SEIU Local 1000's field office last week, has continued to insist that he was a victim of a plot to intimidate him and silence his criticism of the union.
Hamidi has talked about the matter on a popular Southern California radio program and says he plans to file a lawsuit. And Local 1000 leaders have been told not to talk about what happened -- even to each other -- because the case could wind up in criminal and civil court.
Hamidi and an associate, Kim McElroy, tried to take a video camera into a meeting at Local 1000's downtown Sacramento field office last Thursday. The event that they wanted to record, according to Hamidi and several sources familiar with the matter, was an organizational meeting for the Cathy Hackett for CalPERS campaign. Hackett, a former Local 1000 officer the union has endorsed, is in a run-off election against J.J. Jelincic for a seat on the fund's Board of Administration.
Click the following link to read Hamidi's accusation that Hackett and Local 1000 leaders conspired to have him roughed up, and to read Walker's advice to union leaders in the wake of the altercation.
Hamidi and McElroy, who was carrying the video camera, arrived at the meeting last Thursday evening, when, according to this open letter from Hamidi to Hackett,
... your SEIU thugs with direct command from (Local 1000 President) Yvonne Walker and (local Vice President) Jim Hard launched an attack on us, broke our camera, assaulted Ms. McElroy and forced her out of the building. Several other SEIU thugs including Jim Hard repeatedly threw me on the ground kicked and punched me, cause (sic) severe injury to my eye, face, head, shoulder, neck, rib cage, and threw me out of the building. Police and ambulance arrived at the scene and they took me to the emergency room.
The letter accuses Hackett of conspiring with Local 1000 leaders by "hiring union thugs to brutally beat me up, cause severe injury, break our camera plus microphone, and send me to (the) emergency room."
Earlier this week, Hamidi appeared on the Burbank-based John and Ken radio show to talk about what happened last week. Click here to listen to the interview.
The State Worker e-mailed Hamidi about the incident. We asked several questions, including this one about about his conspiracy claims:
Your letter says that the union hired some people to beat you up and that Hackett, Hard and Walker conspired in your assault. How do you know that either is true?
1. On 12/6/08, Kim and attended a bargaining update meeting (general and open) they asked me to turn the camera off, I didn't, they called the police, I refused to turn off the camera, policeman asked them to sign a citizen arrest they backed off and cancelled the meeting. See the episode here: http://www.shouttv4u.com/player/Episode41.htm
2. On 11/5/09, for 20 minutes they were pushing, shoving, and beating me up and not even one person attempted to call the police. That is odd, isn't it? Their predetermined intention was to teach me a lesson, beat me up, and intimidate me to submission.
3. On 11/6/09, Ch 13, KOVR, called them for interview, they refused to make any comment, KOVR told them that at 6:30 p.m. they were going to interview me in the parking lot in front of the union hall that this incident took place: 1325 S Street. They had called the police before we arrive, a lot of their employees were there including Yvonne Walker. That is way too odd, because if Ms. Walker calls the police before a TV interview takes place in the parking lot, don't you think Ms. Walker without a doubt will call the police as soon as there will be a sign of aggression by anyone inside their union hall?
Hamidi also told The State Worker that he plans to sue.
The union had said little publicly in the last week about what happened, other than to assert that Hamidi was the aggressor. Today the local released this "summary of events" involving Hamidi. And the day after the altercation, Walker sent out the following e-mail to union leaders that has been obtained by The State Worker:
From: Walker, Yvonne
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2009 11:24 AM
Subject: INCIDENT AT SACRAMENTO FIELD OFFICE LAST NIGHT
There was an incident last night in the Sacramento field office involving Kourosh "Ken" Hamidi, who is not a member. Mr.Hamidi again attempted to disrupt a meeting. When he was asked to leave, he responded by physically and verbally assaulting several staff members--causing injury to one individual. Our staff and members acted appropriately and are to be commended for their self-restraint under difficult circumstances.
Because this incident is the subject of a criminal investigation and may lead to civil litigation, do not discuss the incident with anyone -- including each other -- as your comments may ultimately impact the outcome of the investigation or litigation.
If you have any questions or get contacted by anyone regarding this incident, refer them to our Chief Counsel Paul Harris.
Yvonne R. Walker
SEIU Local 1000