Minnesota police impound antigay "Truth Truck"
September 09 2004 12:00 AM ET
In less than two weeks of operation, a truck that bears a billboard opposing gay marriage has found itself in the middle of two arrests, one general fracas, and in police custody. The "Truth Truck," operated by Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage, bears eight-foot-tall billboards showing two men kissing and the message "Want Gay Marriage? Vote Democrat this November." It ended up in the St. Paul police impound lot after an incident at an AFL-CIO Labor Day Rally. The trouble started when some members of an estimated crowd of 12,000 that came to hear Democratic vice presidential nominee John
Edwards surrounded the truck to protest. The only person arrested was the truck's volunteer driver, Edmund Kuznia, 47, of New Hope, who allegedly refused a police order to leave, then pinned an officer's hand in the truck window, causing a possible chipped bone. He was held on a gross misdemeanor charge of assaulting a peace officer.
Officers seized the truck, which is "not uncommon for this type of incident," police spokesman Paul Schnell said. Sgt. John Wuorinen at the impound lot said someone paid the $86.50 impound
fee and recovered the truck sometime Tuesday afternoon or evening. "It's unbelievable to me that this could happen in our country," said Jeff Davis of St. Paul, president of the five-month-old group, which is trying to pass state and federal constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. "Ed
was being attacked by the crowd." Davis conceded it might not have been wise to drive the truck into a
Democratic gathering. "I guess, in retrospect, that was a lesson learned," he said.
Monday's ruckus wasn't the first time the truck had inflamed emotions. It debuted August 26 at an appearance by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in Anoka, Minn. Supporters of Democrats and of same-sex marriage at that event actually gave the truck the thumbs-up, Davis said. But on Thursday it got an angrier reaction outside the Minnesota State Fair from a Roseville man who was arrested on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct. Gary Grefenberg, 60, was released without being charged. In an e-mail to the Star Tribune, Grefenberg said he saw the truck circling
the fairgrounds, approached it while it was stuck in traffic, and asked the driver who was financing it. "His response was: 'Get away from my truck!'" Grefenberg wrote. "My response was for him to get out of my neighborhood with his lies and hate." Grefenberg said the driver yelled a sexual slur at him and rolled up his window. Davis said Kuznia said no such things. After Grefenberg stormed the truck, pounding on it and shouting obscenities, Davis said, Kuznia sprayed him with Mace and police intervened.