Yesterday, we spoke with Jackie Abrams, Vice Chair of the Arlington County Fair. According to Abrams, no physical altercation occurred, police were never called and no one was ejected from the fairgrounds – she was emphatic and certain. “I was in radio contact with the other board members during the Fair, and definitely would have known if the police had been summoned. It did not happen [her emphasis],” said Abrams. She added that her calls to PFOX, and specifically to PFOX president Regina Griggs, had gone unanswered.
We also spoke to a second eyewitness to what may have been the genesis of PFOX’s claim. The first was Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance (AGLA) president-elect Daniel L. Hays who told us earlier that he heard what he would call “a heated discussion” Saturday afternoon, August 18. Vania Villanueva was working for her insurance company in the booth directly across the aisle from PFOX during that time. She told us that late that Saturday afternoon, a woman stopped by the PFOX booth while a young man was working there.
According to Villanueva, the woman became angry about what the young man was saying (she couldn’t hear him well enough to understand what that was). The woman spoke loudly, accusing the PFOX representative of deception, during which time the young man didn’t appear to say much of anything. After approximately 5 to 7 minutes, the woman left. Villanueva said she saw no physical attack, nor did she see any police, Fair officials, etc, nor did she observe anyone being escorted off the property.
So is this what really happened? The evidence would seem insurmountable, and there is nothing so far to support PFOX’s version of events, and much to contradict it. With continued silence from PFOX, what are we to conclude? According to John Lisle of the Arlington County Police Department, as of yesterday there is nothing new to add – they have no records, reports or recollection of any incident at the Arlington County Fair as described by PFOX.
The facts so far support a five minute verbal argument between a PFOX worker and a female fairgoer. This argument occurred during a time frame which allows us to assume that it was the genesis of the PFOX story. All other evidence to date contradicts any claim of physical violence, physical attack, police involvement, or any official involvement from the Fair or anyone being escorted off the fairgrounds – all contained in the official statement from PFOX, and reported by Focus on the Family (via CitizenLink), LifeSite, and commented on by Exodus president Alan Chambers.
We believe we have been fair and diligent in our quest for facts, simply asking anyone we talked with to tell us the truth about what they know. We have asked PFOX for any evidence that would support their claims and they have not responded.
The evidence is that the accusations of an attack and police action stems from a single verbal argument. This is a severe blow to the credibility of PFOX and Regina Griggs and indirectly to those who reported the incident without investigation.
So what should happen now? At the least, those sources who reported this story should issue retractions as should PFOX and Mrs. Griggs.
We leave you with the words of Regina Griggs from her interview with Family News in Focus:
Update (9/6/2007): Arlington County Board Member Jay Fisette has given the following statement on this matter:
The alleged incident is a fiction. It makes for a good story, and possibly helps some with fundraising, but remains untrue. Both the Arlington County Police and the County Fair Board state they have no awareness or record of such an incident. Having spent quite a bit of time at the County Fair myself, I’m not sure the PFOX booth received much attention at all over that weekend.