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Surprise! "Video Activist" Is a Tea Partier 

The “video activist” who got into a fracas with John Kitzhaber supporters at a Portland Urban League event last week has been identified, and – brace yourself for a shock! – he’s linked with the Tea Party movement.

Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes writes that police are looking into a complaint by Daniel Sandini, 48, of Southwest Portland that he was assaulted while attempting to film the Democratic governor candidate’s speech.

Mapes says that when he called Sandini for comment he said he’d call back, but later “relayed word through an acquaintance, Washington County Republican activist Tom Cox, that he didn't want to talk with the media now.”

Cox told Mapes that he “met Sandini at an event sponsored by Americans for Prosperity and … that Sandini ‘probably self-identifies with the Tea Party’ movement.”

Along with Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity – heavily funded by the billionaire Koch brothers – is one of the driving forces behind the supposedly “grassroots” Tea Party movement.

Portland businessman James Posey has admitted shoving Sandini’s camera into his face after Sandini repeatedly refused to stop recording, insisting it was his “First Amendment right” to film the event. Video of the incident quickly appeared on and was latched onto by the right-wing blogosphere as an example of “liberal thugs” in action.

Meanwhile, two witnesses, identified by Mapes as Jennifer and Gregory Vantress, “said they sat next to Sandini and [that] he was ‘intent on creating a problem from the beginning of the proceedings,’ according to the police report.  They said that whenever he was asked to stop taping, he would point the camera at the person and ‘was behaving aggressively.’”

That jibes with a comment by “Zeddicus Z’ul Zolander” after Mapes’s original post about the altercation: “I was sitting RIGHT next to this rude, disrespectful man with the camera. He deliberately was looking for an altercation. This was his whole intent and was clear from the beginning of the forum. Numerous times he tried to incite confrontation by being belligerent.”

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