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Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Protester Bill Riney vows to fight charges, calls himself 'political prisoner'

By Heather Lockwood

Bill Riney, an Ypsilanti Township man who climbed onto the Washtenaw County Administration Building in a one-man protest on Labor Day, says he considers himself a "political prisoner."

Now criminally charged with three misdemeanors, Riney says he spent four days in jail because police wouldn't give him his wallet, which would have allowed him to bail himself out.

"On many occasions (police) promised me they would get (my wallet) out of evidence and the days ticked by," he said. "My family member finally came and bailed me out ... they released me Thursday at 9 p.m."

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Bill_Riney_July_2010_2.jpg

Bill Riney is shown with his free hotdog stand while he was campaigning for state office.

Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department, could not confirm whether Riney had ever been promised his wallet by officers while he was in jail.

His understanding, Jackson said, was that Riney's "wallet was part of evidence" and therefore couldn't be retrieved.

"Maybe, potentially, someone thought the wallet was in property (at the jail)" and then realized it was part of evidence and it couldn't be accessed, Jackson said.

Riney said police confiscated his van, free hotdog stand, iPad, iPhone, wallet, Bible, laptop and prescription drugs, among other things. Many of the items were with him when he climbed to the top of the county building and refused to come down for about 13 hours, police said.

Riney said he doesn't know when he'll get his belongings back. He also said police wouldn't allow him to "talk to any reporters" during the time he was arrested and while he received medical treatment for chest pain.

"I would like to see my possessions given back to me immediately, and I'm looking forward to going to court on these charges," Riney said.

Riney was arraigned Sept. 9 on charges of attempted resisting and obstructing, punishable by up to one year in jail; trespassing, punishable by up to 30 days in jail; and disturbing the peace, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, Washtenaw County Chief Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller said.

Jackson said Riney "was treated just like any other inmate." He said it's standard procedure for an individual's possessions to be confiscated as evidence at the time of their arrest, and some or all of those items may be returned upon request.

"He has not been denied access to get any of his items back, or his van back, not that he's asked," Jackson said.

Riney said he did ask police for his things over the phone "several times," the first time being Friday.

"I was told they were being held for evidence and that I had to get in touch with a detective, and the detective never got back to me," he said.

Riney, who went on a five-day hunger strike that coincided with his protest and time spent in jail, said he believes the charges against him are "politically motivated."

"If politicians don't want to do anything for the people, they don't want Bill Riney to do anything for the people," he said.

Riney added, "They have also given me a ticket for peddling free hot dogs without a permit."

He said he began distributing free hot dogs to Ypsilanti area residents two years ago because he wanted to help "hungry people."

"I love and care for people and they're hungry," he said. "I've made a tremendous amount of difference."

Heather Lockwood is a reporter for, reach her at or follow her on Twitter.



Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 4:37 p.m.

@Stuart Brown: You should reflect on the contrast between the Riney performance and your posts here. You have presented a serious discussion of the unemployment crisis and detailed suggestions for dealing with it (which, by the way, I generally agree with). That is constructive. Riney did nothing of the sort, he had no concrete proposals. He just got up on a roof, and not even with a fiddle. Some people, like yourself, chose to project your views onto his charade, and cut him slack. Most were riled by the cost to the city. There is no sign that anyone was persuaded. The moral of the story is: If you want to make a difference, join the political process, not street theater.

Jay Allen

Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 10:59 a.m.

I know I am coming back to this late and I hope those involved read this, but YOU FEW that support rigney are simply not getting this. There are (2) distinct incidents here. 1 - Getting on top of a COUNTY Admin building. 2 - His incarceration. Again, those who SUPPORT rigney, I will meet you at anytime and PROVE to us all that he did the RIGHT thing by getting on the roof at the County Building. Anytime. You name it. Show us all how you support him and he did the right thing. Now after he was arrested all we have is the say so of this known narcissist. You are going to take this as the gospel and believe it? And don't even try to compare what Dr. King did in the 1960's, ah, ya know -40- years ago to what rigney did in 2010. Look at how the scope of the world has changed in 40-50 YEARS. rigney is not a blip on the radar as compared to Dr. King. It is an insult to mention the 2 in the same breath as a few of you have done.

Stuart Brown

Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

Bedrog, The government under Obama's leadership is willing to tolerate very high levels of both unemployment and underemployment for years to come unless a political atmosphere is created where Washington insiders understand the public will not tolerate it. Actions like what Mr. Riney did are an essential part of changing Washington's priorities. I would like to point out that even if you still have a job in this economy, you are still adversely affected by high levels of unemployment. Your bargaining position with your employer is significantly compromised. You will work harder for less pay and security while your benefits are slashed. Changing jobs is not as easy and not as lucrative. Also, the economy does not grow and government deficits pile up even when the government cuts spending; the worst aspect is increasing skewing of income distribution where the rich get much richer and the poor get much poorer. Government cuts in employment can trigger a death spiral in the broader economy.


Fri, Sep 17, 2010 : 6:41 a.m.

stuart brown..." i support riney's actions". Of course you do stuart ( as one would gather from other posts of yours on other threads).However, 'Demistify' is still correct in this case,as are other commenters in the 'anti' camp. Whatever your concrete proposals ( and they at least are actual proposals) that's not what riney was doing.

Stuart Brown

Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Demistify said, "Civil disobedience consists of breaking a law that one believes is unjust, in order to rally support for its repeal. What law is Riney protesting against that he blames for unemployment? No, this is not civil disobedience. It is exhibitionism." I for one support Mr. Riney's action and would point out that even the Obama administration is sending clear signals that they have no intention of taking any extraordinary measures to relieve the current high levels of unemployment. The administration's position is too Hooverish for my taste; I'm hearing that it is going to be a long time before the 10% unemployment rate comes down to something reasonable; which is an entirely unacceptable position. The stimulus package Obama did get passed was necessary but not sufficient. There are plenty of infrastructure projects around the country that need funding and now would be a good time to spend public money on them. I understand that if the Bush tax cuts expired for everyone, four trillion dollars would flow to the Federal government in the next 10 years. I'd say issue bonds and spend that four trillion in the next four years on infrastructure projects to get this economy moving again; eliminate enough of the Bush tax cut to pay back the four trillion in bonds over the next 30 years. Here is another idea; open a two year window were people can collect full Social Security & Medicare/Medicade benefits at age 62 if they retire.


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

Okay, so Riney is against unemployment. I have not heard lately from anyone who admits being in favor of it. There has not been a word about what he advocates should be done about it. Civil disobedience consists of breaking a law that one believes is unjust, in order to rally support for its repeal. What law is Riney protesting against that he blames for unemployment? No, this is not civil disobedience. It is exhibitionism. Some of the posts insist that any public display or disruption is laudable provided only that the perpetrator is pure of heart, even when (as in this case) there is no discernible public policy involved. Here, we are told that the heart is unsound. The mind...?


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 7:16 a.m.

My concern is not the civil disobedience, but the way he did it. Valuable and expensive city emergency resources had to be on hand in case he jumped or fell. Is he willing to pay this bill? I'm sure he could have chosen a venue that would not have required these expensive resources being detoured from their real purpose.

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 9:48 p.m.

Where is this man? I would like to donate some Hot Dogs to him for his cause. I find nothing wrong with giving out food to people. If someone is hungry FEED EM!


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 9:09 p.m.

Quit being stupid and give the man back his dam hot dog stand already. Is his hot dog stand some kind of threat to local security?


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:53 p.m.

My excuse? Well, I'm impressed by the amount of attention a guy received for a small act of nonviolent civil disobedience, and am equally impressed by the intensity of flak directed toward this one incident by various readers here. As I wrote, public apathy is Riney's biggest enemy, and he squarely won this round. I'm also picking up a sense of concern from you that public sympathy for Riney's gesture may encourage more support and/or acceptance for the synagogue pickets. If so, no reader ought to closely link his action with a separate situation, just as no one should conflate him with MLK and Gandhi.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

speechless...several of the synagogue harassers referred to above ( and elsewhere, as you know) have indeed on record 'conflated' themselves with both MLK and gandhi ( and i suspect GOD, in their own minds at least), as im sure you actually know... And as to why one would "waste time" on this particular case ( or threads at all), speaking just for myself it's : a) to 'de sanctimonianize' some of the self- righteous of both left and right who, with no constructive ideas, take up the time of public officials and often cause gratuitous irritation to downright pain to the public, as in this particular case. b) im retired, but choose not to spend my allotment of rant- time on roofs when my comfortable study is available. what's your excuse??


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:10 p.m.

The article failed to mention what he was protesting....does anyone know?


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

"... @speechless... Riney is a clown on a good day.... we won't be naming any elementary schools after him.... Riney is about as relevent as Clarabel. His entertainment value is limited to ongoing debates about his flagpole sitting antics.... About as important as the goings on in Klinger's home town he used to read about in MASH. But if you want to believe he is the next incarnation of Dr. King...." If people upset with Bill Riney actually believe this, then how is it possible that they could bring themselves to devote even one minute of precious time to write about it on this page — over everything else reported on this site, let alone the internet in general. Riney's opponents prove themselves wrong on this point simply by speaking up to complain. In carrying out a protest action, Riney's real enemy is public apathy. The fact that his opponents angrily shower him with just the opposite shows that he's touched on something meaningful to the larger community, and done so just effectively enough to elicit response, both pro and con. Regardless of what one thinks of him or the tactic used, he found a raw nerve and tapped on it. This helps explain the outpouring of anger toward him. He calls attention to the lack of support for growing joblessness at a time when Republican and tea party elements ramp up a demonization campaign seeking to blame the unemployed for the results of corporate outsourcing and Wall Street greed. No one has conflated Rine — or, for that matter, any other local activist of any political slant — with MLK or with Gandhi. That's something which those who don't like Riney have arbitrarily chosen to read into comments, like mine, that have defended his decision to make a basic, public act of protest.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

demistify, per yours...While its certainly true that a disproportionate number of the relexive "fire -eating" ( or 'fire gumming 'as it were)in this town are geriatrics who came of age in the the 60's ( as am i,moderator, so it's not abuse!!)...and a casual look at the washtenaw ave synagogue sidewalk on a saturday morning confirms this...some are younger and have just seen too many romanticized depictions of the era....which in many ways, as the late great paul newman said, was a 'slum of a decade' where passion trumped thought. Hey, sounds just like the present!! ( Just wish my hairline was as 'back in the day'.)

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

It's not clear from the story, but has Riney been evaluated for psychiatric disorders?


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 4:57 p.m.

Sorry, but there is a disconnect with elementary logic: A man does a dangerous stunt on top of a building. He explains that he is protesting unemployment. He does not propose any remedy for unemployment, legislative or otherwise. He is does not claim to be challenging any governmental action that he believes causes unemployment. Just what are his demands? What is his stunt supposed to achieve? What is even more stupefying is the number of posts that take him seriously, that even compare him to Martin Luther King Jr. These posters sound nostalgic for their lost youth in the sixties. They reflexively believe that anything that calls itself a protest must automatically be praiseworthy, no matter the content or lack thereof. In a way, they are even more pathetic than Riney. At least, he is getting the notoriety he desperately craves.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 4:12 p.m.

roadman..i'll reverse my position on this guy as a symbol ( assuming the symbol is to appear on t-shirts, flags,stamps etc..otherwise what good is it?) But only if he dresses up in an 'oscar meyer weiner' suit for the official photo shoot( are you old enough to remember them?).


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 4:02 p.m.

Bill Riney is a true American hero in the same vein as Martin Luther King. He should have a show trial like the LSA 109 defendants had in 1969 before their jury exoneration. Let Riney be a symbol of civil disobedience in this county.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 3:54 p.m.

Bogie, "I would remind "Cash," that the protesters at Kent, had burned down buildings, and students were warned to stay away from area." The ROTC building that arsonist has never been identified and it did not happen the same day as the massacre of the unarmed students. Sorry. Not a reason to shoot and kill 7 unarmed students. What is the point of your KSU statement? To blame the protesters for being shot to death? Arresting them is one thing. Killing them is quite another.

Bob Needham

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

(two comments removed due to name-calling)


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

speechless is once again confirming the judgements i've reluctantly come to of his/her analogy skills on another recent thread. Again to compare this particular 'shlemeil' to MLK ( or gandhi, as some of the other egotists i've referred to above have done.. of themselves!)is beyond absurd... Unless of course this whole line of argument is a set up to another sasha baron cohen ( ali g.; borat; bruno) parody movie, in which case i'd see it.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

@Cash The mere mention of this "person" (I am trying my best to be polite)and MLK in the same post should invoke protest from the entire community! It is ludicrous at best to draw ANY comparison! I was also around when Harvey was sheriff and while I do not think all of his tactics were the best way to approach things. To try to paint the protesters as innocent victims is not being truthful! I had to escort my wife to work many mornings because of the "peaceful" protesters!

Steve Hendel

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 2:11 p.m.

So this guy thinks he was arrested because the authorities didn't want him making an issue out of unemployment? No wonder his nearest and dearest took their sweet time bailing him out.

Mr. Ed

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

Mr.Riney needs to run for Ypsilanti twp Supervisor.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 1:46 p.m.

I would remind "Cash," that the protesters at Kent, had burned down buildings, and students were warned to stay away from area. Thankfully, Mr. Riney never took that action. It seems to me, if Mr. Riney wasn't acting only in self interest; he would have assembled a group of people, to protest the lack of employment opportunities he. This is just another case of "grandstanding" done by another self imposed community leader.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 1:04 p.m.

Back in 1961, MLK and civil rights activists, however hallowed they are today in public discourse, were subject to exactly the same kind of criticisms now heaved at Bill Riney — and much worse — for participating in civil disobedience. Condemnation as nefarious troublemakers and outlaws was routine, as many considered such behavior in public as beyond the pale. I don't wish to think about what some portion of Riney's critics would have said and written half a century ago. Later on, around the time of his assassination, a fair number of god-fearing Americans still regarded MLK as a highly belligerent renegade. He and other civil rights and anti-war activists would have felt fortunate to have been discussed treated only as rudely and disrespectfully as Riney has been.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

Hot dogs are not food! I'd like to know the whole story and whether he was also pushing bible passages.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

@bedrog, Dr King strongly spoke about about being wronged. Yes, he took the abuse. No, he did not raise a hand. He raised his voice and spoke more and more. He trained his followers to do the same to always speak to the wrongs in society. This I know for a fact. I lived this life. Whether I agree with Riney or not, isn't the point. I think the way this whole incident was handled was overkill. For me, it was an overzealous police force on one man. It doesn't matter to me whether anyone agrees or not. It's my opinion. And I stand by it.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

I do not believe we have heard a definitive answer as to how you can access your wallet to bail yourself out of jail. Would like to hear that answered by someone that knows. Not someone that watches Perry Mason! I have never been in jail. I did have to bail my brother in-law out once and I think he did have the money in his wallet but could not access it. But my memory is not clear on that.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

@cash...Although 'announcer man' and i had a little squabble on another thread awhile back,we're clearly on the same page here. To compare this local crank ( and others, notably those i alluded to in my previous post) to dr king is absurd. King advocated for universal tolerance---not selective, and factually distorted demonizing; he took his lumps with class not whining; and he never made his primary cause about himself ( although i know some may disagree there). also just to be clear...if you want to be a 'martyr' don't you have to allow yourself to be 'martyred'instead of hustling to post bail? (the facetious quotation marks are intentional in an era where widespread use of the term seems to be applied to even---indeed especially-- homi/suicidal fanatics ).


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 10:43 a.m.

EyeheartA2; AnnouncerMan007: Please re-read article. Not only was Mr. Riney denied access to his wallet to post bond, there were other items including his prescription medication he was denied access to and according this article has not been returned to him. Maybe there is more to this than what has been reported but if there isn't then something is disturbingly wrong. One may not like the method Mr. Riney choose to use to protest but does his action justify the action of the legal authorities? What is the value of withholding his Van, free hot dog stand, Bible, Wallet, Ipad, Iphone and prescription drugs. The man could have faced a life threathening situation without his medicine. I know of any number of people who when arrested and placed in jail was able to bond out because they had enough money on them at the time of their arrest to post bail. Again, we may not like Mr. Riney's method of advocacy, civil disobedience, or him personally, but this does not justify denying this man his right to post bail unless he is considered a threat to society. I hope more info is forthcoming on this matter.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

TheAnnouncerMan007, Dr King had many sit-ins, demonstrations and other acts of "civil disobedience". Whether he climbed a building, marched on a bridge, sat in at an all white lunch was branded civil disobedience and he was arrested and jailed. What's your point?

Duane Collicott

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

If it takes four days for your own family to come bail you out, it's time to do some thinking about things.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

I have no love for this "hot dog" guy, but that is my choice. But, to keep him away form his wallet needs some explanation. Let the "elected" Sheriff explain this one, PLEASE!

Jay Allen

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

@keepingitreal. No I did not. I am sorry this simple concept is difficult for you to understand. You: "Whatever happened to the rights of citizens to engage in civil disobedience?" Cash: "I was shocked by the ridicule shown here when a man stands up for what he believes in" Me: "When Dr. King ever get on top of a County Building to make his point?" Defined at Wikipedia: Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government. I will march with YOU for YOUR RIGHT to assemble and protest. I may NOT agree with what you are protesting about, but YOUR RIGHT to protest I will defend. I will NOT go with you if you choose to go on the ROOF of the County building. That is not very smart. You think I am wrong? Tell you what.......NO, to ANY OF YOU that think Rigney is right. Let's ALL meet at the county building today at 5pm. Let's see who has the "courage" to get on the roof at the County building. It's your right.......


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 9:06 a.m.

Mr. Riney, the Bill of Rights protects people, not property. I am not fond of this concept either, but it is what it is.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:43 a.m.

@AnnouncerMan007: You missed the point.

Jay Allen

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

@keepingitreal and @cash. When Dr. King ever get on top of a County Building to make his point? If rigney wanted to march through with you two at his side, he HAS that right. No one would take it away and matter of fact, I would support that. But come on.......Takes a tent, a sleeping bag, a chair and no one else (yet) knows what else he had on top of a COUNTY Building, he was let off pretty easy if you ask me.

Alan Benard

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

Real political prisoners remain incarcerated until the job is done. Whiners cry about being treated like political prisoners because they didn't get bailed out soon enough. This shameful attention-seeking is a slap in the face to real prisoners of conscience. "In December 1961, [Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] joined a mass protest demonstration in Albany, Ga., was arrested, and dramatically declared that he would stay in jail until Albany consented to desegregate its public facilities. But just two days after his arrest, King came out on bail. The Albany movement collapsed, and King was bitterly criticized for helping to kill it. Today he admits mistakes in Albany. "Looking back over it," he says, "I'm sorry I was bailed out. I didn't understand at the time what was happening. We though that the victory had been won. When we got out, we discovered it was all a hoax. We had lost a real opportunity to redo Albany, and we lost an initiative that we never regained."


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

Craig: If Bill Riney had the ability to post bail at the time of his arrest he should have gone before a magistrate, arraigned, bond set and allowed to post bail. If his wallet was confiscated as part of a drug bust of some other criminal enterprise, then it is appropriate to hold it for evidence. If Mr. Riney was denied access to his wallet for reasons other than this, then we should all be concerned about the intent of our law enforcement officials. This is not about whether we like/dislike Mr. Riney or whether we think he is a "nut job." This is about fundamental justice that is jermained to our constitution and rule of law. If good decent citizens are willing to forego our rights for immediate gratification, then we are no dofferent than those countries that we chastise for their violation of human rights and lack of law. I think Mr. Riney's allegations should be investigated.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

there are already too many narcissistic types hereabouts who have no problem disrupting, causing others gratuitous pain/annoyance ( check out the sidewalk in front of a local synagogue on any given saturday!) and who justify this nonsense with bogus links to martin luther king etc. (whose boots as humanitarians/ 'political martyrs', they most definitely don't walk in, any more than michael vick is an 'animal lover' because he owns dogs). almost more irritating are their usually clueless cheerers -on -from -the sidelines ( or on threads like this).


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:53 a.m.

I was wondering why it took so long for someone to bring up the fact that his family was in no hurry to bail him out. ""I love and care for people and they're hungry," he said. "I've made a tremendous amount of difference." Is that the kind of statement most benevolent persons make? I think not! Seems to me some of those that he made such a "tremendous amount of difference." to might have come to his rescue! He could have stood on the street corner or sat with a sign and tried to publicize his cause all he wanted. But when he went up on the roof he broke the law plain and simple! @Cash "he is calling attention to serious problems in our community that many of us have chosen to ignore." Speak for yourself! Just because non of the rest of us have chosen to break the law does not mean we are ignoring the problem. So I suppose if I rob a bank (break the law)and hand the money out on the street corner everyone should be glad I am addressing the problem?


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

History teaches that in protest, jail is often accepted by the protester as a means to demonstrate the issue at hand. So this brings more attention to the cause. History has taught us that...not speculation.

Gulo gulo

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

@ alterego "Maybe there's a reason why his family let him stay in jail for several days? Anybody care to speculate?" I speculate that his family was enjoying some peace & quiet.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:22 a.m.

Regardless of the reason you do it, if you climb up on top of a building without permission, that's trespassing. So, really, he's a trespasser, not a political prisoner. Maybe there's a reason why his family let him stay in jail for several days? Anybody care to speculate?

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:11 a.m.

", Riney says he spent four days in jail because police wouldn't give him his wallet, which would have allowed him to bail himself out." IF and I emphasis "IF" that is true it is unacceptable. Back in the "good old days" when Doug Harvey ran the jail I wouldn't hesitate to believe the allegation. Today I'm not so sure.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:10 a.m.

@KeepingitReal, I couldn't agree more. I was shocked by the ridicule shown here when a man stands up for what he believes in, and in Ann Arbor of all places! I get that many posters here aren't even Washtenaw County residents,and it's a small representation of the area, but still I thought more people would stand up for the rights of a citizen to protest. It doesn't matter whether we agree with what he was trying to say. It doesn't matter whether we even like this man. The whole reaction to this one-man-stand reminded me of Sheriff Doug Harvey back in the day. Remember the dogs that he set lose on the college students? My brother, now deceased, was one of those students who was bitten by Harvey's dogs for peacefully protesting the wasteful spending of the university's administration! Now we get a SWAT team instead. And now complacency is the rule. When students see wasteful spending by the school, what do they do about it? Nothing. Maybe it's because I'm of the age that I saw with my own eyes how protest can make change. I saw MLK and the civil rights movement make change non-violently. I saw college students protest the war and change history, even as young people were murdered by the National Guard at Kent State. I don't see Mr Riney as the issue here. I see the complacency of our citizens as the problem. To paraphrase Adlai Stevenson....this country will not end with a big explosion or a world war, it will fall asleep and die with a big yawn.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:06 a.m.

Please, spare us all by not giving this man any more attention. He has said all we need to hear. When he is finally sentenced, fined or whatever, a brief bulletin will suffice.

Tom Dodd

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 7:02 a.m.

It's the Hen House Tradition: one chicken gets it's head stuck in the wire fence and it makes a spot of blood on its neck. The other chickens, in their curiosity, see that blood spot and they peck at it. By day's end, the non-conforming chicken is dead and all the other chickens settle back and relax in their "sameness," wondering whatever happened to that colorful fellow in their flock.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.

Seems that Mr. Riney has been extremely successful in getting his 15 minutes of fame. If he were really that interested in helping those who are in need, he could do it unobtrusively, and accomplish so much more.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 6:31 a.m.

Whatever happened to the rights of citizens to engage in civil disobedience? I suppose that people like MLK and others who participated in civil disobedience would by todays standards be criminals of the highest order. It seems to me that the action of this man is more civil than criminal and irregardless of whether we like his methods or not, he is calling attention to serious problems in our community that many of us have chosen to ignore. Many of the individuals quoted in this article benefited from past acts of civil disobedience. Also, why couldn't the man's wallet be retrieved to bail himself out of the slammer? People do this all the time when they are arrested. It seems to me that the authorities were being punitive toward him for his actions.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 5:34 a.m.

"...while he received medical treatment for chest pain. " hot dog anyone?