Two Arrested For Chaining Themselves to the White House Gate to Protest Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy

Mar 18, 2010 2:03pm

ABC News' Steven Portnoy and Sunlen Miller report: An Iraq war veteran and vocal opponent of the military’s Don’t Ask Don't Tell policy was arrested by police officers after chaining himself to the front gate of the White House, in apparent protest of that policy.

Lt. Dan Choi, a gay Arab linguist whose case for possible discharge from the New York national guard is still under review, has long opposed this policy. A second soldier, James Pietrangelo II, a plaintiff in the case turned down in the Supreme Court last year, also chained himself with Choi to the White House gate and was arrested.

Choi and Pietrangelo will be charged with failure to obey a lawful order, the U.S. Park Police said.

Some 150 protesters were also in front of the White House, changing “Hey Hey Ho Ho Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has got to go,” and about 30 Washington D.C. police officers are lined up in a show of force there as well.

Choi, a West Point graduate,was discharged from the National Guard in April of 2009. In a letter to President Obama last year, Choi described his reaction to receiving the letter as “a slap in the face to me. It is a slap in the face to my soldiers, peers and leaders who have demonstrated that an infantry unit can be professional enough to accept diversity, to accept capable leaders, to accept skilled soldiers … My subordinates know I'm gay. They don't care," he said. "They are professional."

"As an infantry officer, I am not accustomed to begging. But I beg you today: Do not fire me," Choi wrote.

Choi, 29, announced he is gay during an appearance March 19 on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Soon after, the army made plans to fire him, saying he had "negatively affected good order and discipline in the New York Army National Guard."

While Choi and Pietrangelo were protesting, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked at his daily briefing if President Obama had plans to meet with Choi.

“I don’t believe there are any meetings scheduled today,” Gibbs answered.

He said that he was not aware that the White House was given any heads up about this beforehand.

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