Pamela Hall Should be Arrested for Assault (And Why She Wasn’t)

The woman in this video is Mona Eltahawy. She is vandalizing an ad. The woman who runs up to the poster with a camera and assaults her is Pamela Hall.

[I placed the ad Eltahawy was vandalizing here but have removed it because frankly I don’t feel like looking at it. I’m sure you know to which one I’m referring.]

Clearly racist. I am not concerned about addressing the ad in particular, though it’s a very telling backdrop, or about the question of vandalism, but about the initial response to Eltahawy’s spray-painting with Hall in the way and the simultaneous deliberate refusal to acknowledge Hall’s assault on Eltahawy.

It was Pamela Hall, not Pamela Geller (Pamela Geller is the one who made the ad, which is why Eltahawy asks her if she is Pamela Geller), which made me resent Pamela Hall significantly less than the first time I watched the video. It means she’s not batshit enough to have made such a racist ad, and it means she did not in fact lie about her identity, which would render her a coward who didn’t want to own up to her actions. That does not change the fact that she committed assault. She forcefully pushes Eltahawy away from the poster. It does not change the fact that she got away with it while Eltahawy was arrested for Hall stepping into the way of the paint. Because let’s be clear: that was why the police arrested Eltahawy, not because of vandalism. They decided on the vandalism charge later. In the video one officer says, “Why didn’t you stop spray painting?” in response to Eltahawy inquiring about her arrest. There was in various articles mention that the police were concerned the paint could have damaged Hall’s eyes. They had arrested Eltahawy immediately because Hall stepped into the spray paint and Eltahawy did not stop–not immediately because of vandalism–yet Hall was not arrested for PUSHING Eltahawy when she recounted to them what happened. The policemen should be fired for blatant favoritism and neglecting to arrest someone for assault and for not reading Eltahawy her Miranda Rights.

And here’s why my reaction is so strong: Pamela Hall is white. Pamela Hall is a white woman who stepped in front of spray paint and was seen as some fragile martyr protecting a system defending racism that treats her exactly like some fragile martyr who could be hurt by spray paint (by someone who wasn’t even aiming for her) but who can’t possibly in turn hurt a woman who is not white if she happened to push that non-white woman into the tracks or prodded her away with a monopod. Especially if that woman is so damn uppity and has the nerve to employ civil disobedience! Against a delicate white woman? Against her patriarchal establishment that treats her like a princess among savages? No way!

Pamela Hall stepped in the way of paint; Eltahawy continued painting around her. Unlike Hall, who aimed to push Eltahawy, Eltahawy was not aiming to harm.

Pamela Hall made first physical contact with the monopod. She shoved Eltahawy HARD, more than once, with her entire body, and she was not arrested.

God forbid anyone ever touches a white woman with some paint. But she can go around pushing whomever the hell she wants.

The police arrive, Eltahawy asks for her Miranda rights. She does not resist arrest. She asks for her Miranda rights continuously. And what does one of the officers do at each request? He SNEERS.

He sneers at her for asking for her Miranda rights.

And then, INSTEAD of taking the time to state the charge as he is legally obligated, he walks over to Hall and whispers something to her ear, clearly so that Eltahawy cannot hear it. Hall can be seen mouthing the words thank you in return.

Eltahawy meanwhile tells the other officer she was pushed. He tells her she kept spray painting. She insists (and we have proof) that no one was there when she arrived. Hall had placed herself in front of the paint. Unlike Eltahawy, however, she conveniently had men racing over to protect her AT ONCE.

Knights for the lady please!

50 thoughts on “Pamela Hall Should be Arrested for Assault (And Why She Wasn’t)

  1. No, Mona was clearly in the wrong and should have been arrest. She was in the commission of a crime of criminal damage to property. Now while in the commission of a crime a citizen can enact a citizen’s arrest or attempt to stop the criminal from continuing to damage said property. Mona was repeatedly told to stop but she continued her criminal activity as such the individual tired to get her to stop the vandalization but was continually sprayed upon and that is an assault/battery. Yes, paint can create problems for some people however battery/assault is the intentional touching or application of something when done in a rude, malicious, or insolent manner. In this case mona continued to spray thereby she is clearly assaulting/battering a good samartian who is trying to get her to stop her criminal activity of vandalism.

    [A paragraph from this comment has been removed. –Nahida]

    1. Nahida:

      So you go on about free speech but you fail to put up a perfectly good example of that free speech to which calls you out?

      What I wrote was a perfectly acceptable analysis apparently you like skewing this issue unless it somehow promotes your view. You didn’t even allow a complete understandiing of the good samaritian or the citizen arrests.

      What a pathetic example you are of freedom of speech but you claim her right to destruction of property and battery. By the way I am Native American so yes I get tired of hearing about the race card which you are using.

      1. Honey, you are not entitled to this space. Commenting is a privilege, not a right. So yeah, I can “censor” you if I don’t feel like hearing a lecture, if it’s derailing, or if I decide it’s a waste of time since you dismissed the conclusion regarding race without addressing ANY of the reasons in the post and assumed a postion I didn’t take in the post. (I did not for one concern myself with whether Eltahawy should or should not have been arrested–only that Hall should have been, which is the part of your comment I allowed to let through.) Go talk about it in your own space. I would advise you to learn what free speech is before making an allegation of hypocrisy, but I don’t go around telling people what to allow in their space.

      2. Wrong. You do not have freedom of speech in my space any more than you do in my house. You can’t say whatever you want in either without me throwing you out and that would not be considered a violation of free speech, any more than I can leave comments you don’t wish to post in your space and expect them to be posted. That has nothing to do with free speech. Please learn what it means and stop wasting my time.

        The right to free speech is not the right to space to express it or the right to my attention. I was gracious enough to post a part of your comment that was a valid legal point without the ridiculous defensiveness.

      3. UM.

        I agree with bigstick1 that Eltahawy was “in the wrong” to vandalize the poster, but where did Nahida say she wasn’t? I thought that was the whole point of the post. That they arrested Eltahawy for assault [not vandalism] but not Hall who kept pushing her?

      4. Yes it was. That’s why I let through the first part of her comment that argued with the post while the rest was nonsense lecturing. So let’s move on.

      5. UM.

        bigstick1, how can you accuse someone of “using the race card” when she told you all the reasons she thinks that, and then use the race card yourself by saying you’re Native American?

      6. Okay really, I’ve already had to delete comments accusing bigstick1 of not “really” being Native. (That is unacceptable people!) Can we get back on topic now? Yes we can! Okay. Awesome.

      7. Yes, I keeping hearing that I have special priviledges due to being white so I get tired of hearing this as well. However, that said since she will not allow the full post anything that I say to you or how it was implied to her is lost to you or she will censor it.

      8. UM.

        I don’t think you understood what I just said said. You are telling NAHIDA that she is using the race card when she told you all the reason she said that? And THEN you go say you’re Native American? That’s hypocritical. Now you say you’re white so which is it?

      9. *headdesk*

        Obviously she means she is Native and white mixed, with passing privilege. (Which explains why she’s such a dismissive jerk and jumped on the “race card” accusation without addressing the reasons.) Now stop taking up space with this derailment. Seriously.

      10. oscar

        Yes, I keeping hearing that I have special priviledges due to being white so I get tired of hearing this as well.

        bigstick1, Nahida is not going to stop talking about race just because you are tired of hearing it. You’ll need a better reason about why this wasn’t about race. Nahida gave several about why it is. Being sick of hearing about privilege is not going to cut it.

    2. That was part (Hall not being arrested) of the analysis was what she failed to posted. Now the whole purpose of my pointing out the whole Native American thing is that I get to hear about priviledge white man which this has nothing to do with it and I get tired of hearing it and the race card is not easily used on me as I am Native American. So as a minority I call a spade a spade. It was not racist at all it was based on her criminal behavior and Pamela Hall was within her right to stop this action as Mona was engaged in a criminal activity during the time that she engaged Mona. Pam could have enacted a citizen’s arrest or taken any means to include pushing her back to stop said criminal act. Think of it this way. If a person is hitting another person a bystander or a person of interest has the right to stop the action. In other words, that person can put hands on the criminal to stop the criminal activity which is in this case vandalism/destruction of property.

      1. oscar

        Well I don’t know what you said because Nahida removed it, but just saying, “You’re playing the race card” is not enough. The part of your comment Nahida posted made the point without you being an asshole about it. You’re not taking time to understand why Nahida said what she did in this post. And NO, the ONLY time you can stop criminal activity with FORCE is if it involves you with FORCE. Eltahawy unarmed and she was not attacking Hall.

      2. bigstick1, if you have a problem with privilege, take it (along with your passing privilege) to another blog, not a feminist one, and definitely not mine. I don’t have time for this basic 101 stuff and I don’t want to give it any more space.

      3. Actually yes she has the right to stop the action once she told Mona to stop spraying her with spray paint and she failed to. Pam has the right to put herself between Mona and the property. She also has the right to have Mona stop spray painting her. The action of Pam did not rise to the level of a criminal by placing herself in front of the picture however, Mona continuing to spray paint her once asked to stop is a criminal activity of battery/assault. Battery/Assault is the intentional touching of another when done in a rude, insolent and vulgar manner. In this case, Mona is the one is who engaging in such activity.

      4. No. Mona was still spraying around her. I already said this in the post. And she was not doing so in “rude, insolent and vulgar manner”–in fact Hall was, and she was using her camera to prod her away. Hall assaulted her, and even if you want to make the bizzare case that it was somehow justified, the poster itself and the police not reading her the Mirada rights makes it racist because they have taken a racial (by the poster) side. They DELIBERATELY did not treat her like a US citizen.

        I’m tired of repeating myself so unless you have something to add that actually refutes this, I’m not going to post them.

      5. The only time a Miranda is needed is if the officers are questioning her on the crime not when they see a crime in action. They see it they can arrest for it no miranda needed.

      6. They were taking her into custody. They are required to read the rights whenever they arrest someone and take her into custody.

        Additionally as someone below this mentioned she was not armed or attacking maliciously and thus they should have diffused the situation first before making an arrest. Instead they did not read the rights and yet they continued to ignore her recounting of what happened.

      1. Yes they do. They walked in when she was struggling to get Hall off of her–they have no idea how it started or who was doing what. Because she was not armed, stated clearly that she was pushed, did not intend an assault or resist arrest, they should have diffused the situation, heard both parties, and then read the Miranda rights and made the appropriate arrest. Instead they arrested her for assault because she was holding a can of spray paint and spraying a poster. They took her in on an assault charge, not a vandalism one, even though they did not see from the beginning who did what.

    3. First, no they don’t need her account they can take by-standers accounts and the video that is in the subway that watches this activity. Miranda is only read to individuals who are undergoing questioning and to allow them to keep quite in order not to incriminate themselves.

      1. They DID talk to her–that’s why they were telling her that she “didn’t stop spraying” even though she was spraying around Hall to get to the poster. They should have read the Miranda rights when she requested them.

        I don’t think this is going anywhere (and NO I will not post that comment to oscar it’s not related to the post so stop harassing me about it) so we’ll just wait for the court. Neither of us are lawyers anyway. (Unless you are a lawyer, which still wouldn’t count over the Internet as credible.)

  2. Carla L.

    Do you think Mona should have been arrested? I know that wasn’t the point of the post. Just making sure I understand correctly since you seem to accept in it that she should be,

    Either way what’s it mean for free speech?

    1. Eltahawy was committing vandalism. Except maybe for the fact that about 10 signs have been vandalized with (apparently) no arrests, I’m pretty sure she was expecting to be arrested.

      Nothing has changed about free speech; the public still completely misunderstands it–and so do both parties in that video. Each kept referring to her act as either expressing or “protecting” free speech. It is completely inaccurate to say Eltahawy was violating free speech or that Hall was protecting it–free speech has nothing to do with their confrontation: it’s only related to the ad being posted. Eltahawy broke a law, but it IS nonviolent civil disobedience as there is no aggressive physical force on Eltahawy’s part and it remains that way: “violence” doesn’t mean “things that are illegal.” She should have expected and did expect to be arrested–she should have ALSO been given her Miranda rights. With that factor, and with the nature of the advertisement itself and the nature of her arrest being that she “assaulted” someone who actually in fact assaulted her, it’s ludicrous to say there isn’t an aggressive racial undertone against her.

      Pamela Hall is now suing Mona Eltahawy for damaging her clothes and property–if Hall had simply stood in the way of the advertisement this wouldn’t be so laughable because she would have just been a woman who happened to be standing where she has the right to stand; it’s clear from the video however that she was actively provoking Eltahawy and meaning physical harm against her. She was doing this with her equipment in her hands–as a result it was damaged.

      1. Carla L.

        That was informative, thanks. So are you basically saying that if Hall hadn’t pushed Eltahawy you would be on her side? Because you’re against Eltahawy spray painting the sign?

      2. I’m against spray painting signs. I am NOT “against” spray painting advertisements in the subway.

        Advertisements by nature are meant to demand attention and therefore provoke the passerby. This one, in fact, directly addresses the viewer. You don’t get to do that and believe you’re entitled to not being told to shut up. You can have the ad space because you paid for it, and the elected government cannot stop it. You are NOT however entitled to an audience you deliberately mean to address, and certainly not a complacent one. Eltahawy responded to a visual advertisement visually. Eltahawy is not the elected government.

        Now obviously I understand that to some extent it is mild property damage that still requires someone to be paid to clean it off. There can be a hefty fee for that damage–but it’s totally stupid for it to warrant an arrest. I mean if a woman with a child goes walking through the subway and spray paints over nudity because she doesn’t want her daughter to see it, I would think arresting her is nothing short of total dumbfuckery.

        The audience determines whether they view the ad.

        Now you can delve into who has the right to decide for themselves whether they see an ad (every individual for themselves) and what gives someone the right to make that decision for other people by spray painting over it–but that’s a different discussion.

  3. Pamela Hall shouldn’t be suing Mona, Good Grief! My goodness! She was very annoying, and she did push Mona several times. Argh!
    Personally I don’t have an issue with spray painting a poster. Good for Mona. I may have chosen something else to deface the poster with beside spray paint, but…
    I am very surprised that the police handcuffed her so soon, and that they didn’t clearly state why she was being arrested. Wouldn’t you start with a discussion/defusing the tension/solve the problem peacefully first, given the situation and the absence of a weapon? Makes me want to howl in rage. I would not want to be treated this way!

    1. No, not really. I mean Hall should have been arrested, but if the policemen were acting as they believed they should or as they understood the law then whatever. It’ll all be settled in court anyway. I do suspect some serious bias and even prejudice, like I said in the post, because after one of the policemen finally answering her question she was being arrested because she “didn’t stop spray painting” (so assault not vandalism) yet she was spraying around Hall and Hall is the one who shoves her yet isn’t arrested, but I don’t think it warrants dismissal. And they weren’t saying anything to her or rude in any way when she was announcing who she is.

  4. rootedinbeing

    Go Ms. Eltahawy!!!

    Eltahawy is an activist, someone who DOES SOMETHING about the racism and orientalism so rife among us. Of course she knew she would be arrested. I think the cops didn’t even understand why they were arresting her, they saw a white woman and acted on age old messages ingrained in their minds. It definitely has racist undertones, because assault so clearly did not happen, meaning they were on the white woman’s side from the jump. Assault/battery is a big word, especially in the criminal justice world. The cops could have charged both with disorderly conduct (which is what it was, NOT ASSAULT), and cuffed them both – which is what should have happened. Possibly given both a ticket on the spot. The fact that that is not what happened by all means has racist undertones to it.

    But anyway, Mona Eltahawy gets only immense respect and admiration from me. She’s the real deal. She gives of herself in the name of social justice. AMAZING woman.

  5. rootedinbeing

    Assault is a misdemeanor, on paper it looks like you punched someone or beat them up… To employers and to others who view your public record it makes a person look violent. Disorderly conduct is not a misdemeanor, it can be for many things: public drunkenness, arguing with someone on the street and not calming down when the police get there, etc.. That is a big difference for the people being given the label. For the average joe, the difference is between having to tell an employer your CRIMINAL record, versus not having to.

    I judge that as a big deal. Especially when that label is so clearly not justified.

  6. rootedinbeing

    My apologies for misspeaking. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor as well, but not viewed as a violent offense by employers, therefore not needing to be reported by potential employees on a Caregiver Background check, for instance.

    Does Mona Eltahawy deserve to be labeled with a misdemeanor charge of violence? I say no. In fact, I say that is quite ridiculous.

  7. rootedinbeing:

    I am sure she can have the charge reduced or deferred. however, her actions warranted arrest. The charge is correct and the ridiculous part was Mona who has confused freedom of speech with destruction of property. One is a right the other is a criminal act. Now she has the right to her freedom of speech but so does Pamela Geller. You don’t have to like what Geller states or what she stands for but she has the right for her property to remain in tact as well as to her viewpoint.

    Now Nahida and I will disagree but people do have the right to stop others from vandalizing their property even by force if necessary and that includes in the public. The amount of force Pam Hall exhibited was not out of line. She first stuck the metal piece of the camera under her arm to stop her from spray the poster all the while telling Mona to stop her criminal act and the other action she took looked more like her using her body to deflect Mona from actually continuing to damage the property.

    Next, spitting on a person is deemed to be battery or using an object such as a can of spray as it is now deemed to be an extension of your being. In other words, even if you threw gum at me it would be a battery if done in a certain manner. That is what you are not looking at, Pam was not engaging in any criminal activity nor was her actions out of line in protecting the property. Any actions she was appling was not done in a manner consistent to battery or assault but done in a manner to protect against a criminal action. I assure you there is a hugh difference.

    Would you stand by while someone spray painted your car or would you try to stop them. Once a person is engaged in the criminal act they forfeit certain aspects of personal space as they are the aggressor and are violating someone else either person or property.

    1. Pamela Geller does NOT have the right to her ad not being defaced. She purchased the space, not the attention of those who view the ad. It is the city of New York that owns the subway, not Pamela Geller, and Eltahawy did not remove the ad. Comparing it to a private car is beyond ridiculous. And what’s more ridiculous is that Hall clearly doesn’t understand free speech (and as you’ve demonstrated neither do you) in that video if she is trying to “protect” it. She is trying to protect the property of the subway, NOT free speech. Free speech has nothing to do with their confrontation; it stops at the poster.

      For the thousandth time Eltahawy was initially arrested for spraying Hall, NOT for spraying the poster, as the officer makes clear in the video when he speaks to her. This is NOT Hall’s property; she did not involve Hall and she was not the aggressor. She did not spray Hall, she continued to spray around her, and if she is going to arrested for that charge, Hall should have been arrest for SHOVING HER. Hall is suing for the damaged camera she used to assault Eltahawy, which is pathetic. Pamela Hall cannot push her away; she is NOT an authority figure and has nothing to do with the advertisement. When someone is spray painting a poster you are to call the police.

      This is getting ridiculous; I thought you were indignant about your imaginary right to my attention and space and your conflation of it with free speech (just like you incorrectly think Pam Geller is entitled to people’s attention as an extension of free speech) and were therefore going to go off to yours? No one with passing privilege is EVER going to tell me not to “play the race card here” without being censored. Ever. And they are certainly not going to be entitled to my attention. Don’t ever give me orders about how to handle my own comment section and expect me to give you the time of day and flatter yourself into thinking it’s because of you’ve “won” something I’m afraid to show.

  8. Nahida:

    She did spray her and made derogatory remarks about her hair as well. Next, I have already told you that a citizen can enact an arrest or stop a person in a criminal action. It is allowed. The fact is that Hall was protecting the property of Geller who she knew and that property is paid by Geller and Hall stated that she had additional copies of the poster that could be placed back up.

    Understand, you do not have to be an authority figure to stop a crime in action whatever that crime is as the offender of the crime is culpable. Any damage done in the commission of a a crime is upon the criminal in this case the criminal is Mona.

  9. Nahida:

    You really should re-read your post as you are the one who immediately throws done the white woman bid which is just as degoratory and deemed racist. Instead of anaylzing the situation you immediately go to race. Next your last comment screams of racism toward me.

    Now on that note. I would like to state that I find many of your points of view intrigue. This just happens to not be one of them.

    1. Don’t have ANY idea what racism IS (the fact that in your very first comment you neglected to address any of the points I made to reach that conclusion in the post proves this) and I am not going to waste my time talking about it with someone who’s incapable of seeing when she’s pushing crappy white supremacist phrases on others. “Don’t play the race card” is the laziest bullshit of a sentence imaginable, and when I took out the paragraph that depended on it entirely without addressing the analysis present in the post (which others seem to have no problem finding so your imagined absence of it is you) you immediately concluded it was because I was censoring your points (which btw I have ABSOLUTE right to do) even though I left the comment intact with every single other point that was constructive. Did you not then reblog this post as “another Muslim screaming about free speech while censoring it” when this post is clearly nothing about religion? How convenient for you that I happen to be Muslim and fit perfectly into your global agenda! And I’m the one playing the race card?

      If you had done that HERE I would have banned you. At least you had some sense to take that elsewhere and not expect me to put up with your orders.

    1. Seriously? You’re THAT dense? Where you can’t differentiate criticizing a religion from jumping to conclusions based on the identity of someone who follows it? Go away.

  10. Pingback: Link Love (16/10/2012) « Becky's Kaleidoscope


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