Anti-free speech bullies shut down Rochester event

An American Experiment event on the Crime Crisis was abruptly cancelled today by the Rochester Country Club after leftist activists pressured the venue with an online petition signed by 90 people. American Experiment staff and around 50 attendees were left standing in the parking lot after a request for a temporary restraining order was not granted in time for the lunch event to occur. The Golden Valley-based public policy think tank filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the country club because of the last-minute arbitrary cancellation and will proceed with its claim for damages against the club.

The event was to feature a panel discussion on current crime trends, an overview of the criminal justice system, the role of key officials in fighting crime, and proven strategies to reduce crime. Panelists included Jeff Van Nest, American Experiment Public Safety Policy Fellow, Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sheriff and Jim Franklin, Rochester Police Chief.

“It’s too bad the Rochester Country Club couldn’t stand up for free speech today and stay true to their contract,” said John Hinderaker, President of Center of the American Experiment. “The people of Olmsted County were denied the chance to hear from a great panel of experts on a really important topic. But free speech will ultimately prevail. We will reschedule the event in Rochester at a different venue as soon as possible.”

A similar event will proceed as planned in Owatonna tonight at 5:30 pm with Van Nest hosting a panel that includes Lon Thiele, Steel County Sheriff, Daniel McIntosh, Steele County Prosecutor, Keith Hiller, Owatonna Chief of Police and Jeff Elstad, School Administrator.