MASSENA -- Candidate Donald Hassig of Colton has racked up another arrest in his unconventional campaign for Congress.
The environment and health activist, who last week lost the support he had of the Green Party in his bid for the 21st Congressional District seat, was charged with trespassing at Massena Memorial Hospital Wednesday for staging what he called “educational outreach on the subject of breast carcinogen exposure minimization.”
His arrest in July, for not leaving a public park in Parishville when asked, was dismissed after he argued that he could not be trespassing at a public place. That was likely the inspiration for his defense after taking his frequently boisterous campaign inside the Massena hospital.
“The Massena Memorial Hospital is owned by the Town of Massena,” Hassig wrote in an email after his release “Thus, it is a public place. Public places are freedom of speech places. I chose to do this because of three things: (1) determination to educate St. Lawrence River Valley residents about PCBs and other breast carcinogens; (2) love of freedom of speech; and (3) determination to confront corporations and government on their deceptions regarding breast cancer education. Publicly owned hospitals are the perfect places to satisfy all of these driving forces.”
Aside from the charge of trespassing, which he called an “unlawful arrest,” he had few negative things to say about the Massena police.
“Their order to leave was unlawful because it was violating my freedom of speech. I was arrested by the police for making this choice. It was an unlawful arrest. The Village of Massena Police could have given me an appearance ticket. They chose to handcuff me and confine me in the police station until the time of the Massena Village Court session. I was thus robbed of several hours of my freedom. The Massena Village Police chose to do this because it was a way of giving me a bad time for standing up to them. Nevertheless, the officers were quite reasonable and decent. When I requested to have the handcuffs loosened so that they were not cutting into my wrists, they loosened the handcuffs. When I asked questions about the steps required to regain my freedom, they answered my questions.”
Hassig, who had the support of the Green Party in his bid for Congress, lost that support last week when he made comments about migrant workers that were interpreted as discriminatory.
He is running against incumbent Democrat Bill Owens of Plattsburgh and Watertown-area investor Matt Doheny, a Republican.
Hassig's name wil still be on the ballot Nov. 6 on the Green Party line.