Truck driver tells of “threat” made by activist at Christie’s Clear Lake event
CLEAR LAKE – An activist at a Christie Vilsack campaign event, claiming to be HIV-positive, warned a Clear Lake resident to think twice about hitting him, as their blood mixing could result in the local man getting infected with the AIDS virus.
The Vilsack campaign event, held June 29th at Clear Lake’s Central Gardens, was publicized as open to the public as a “meet and greet.” Vilsack is running against Republican Steve King for the 4th District congressional seat. The election is this November.
“I’m HIV positive!” the man shouted at John Johnson, whose summer home is on Clear Lake’s south shore. The man, who Clear Lake Police say they were unable to locate after they were called to the scene that day, was not identified but told Johnson that “you can’t be here, this is private property, I rented this place.”
Johnson and his daughter, Whitney, wanted to attend the event for Christie Vilsack, who is challenging Congressman Steve King in the November election. “The event was for a candidate who wants to represent me and my family in Congress,” said Johnson, who also lives in Hancock county, where his independent trucking business is based. “My daughter wanted to meet Mrs. Vilsack and ask her some questions,” Johnson told NorthIowaToday.
“He informed us over and over that he had rented the place and that we had to leave, and said he would call the police,” Whitney Johnson said. “As we are walking back into the garden, he asked if we had invites. We said no. He said we have to leave,” she continued.
“This little guy approaches us and orders us out of there. So we were leaving, and the little guy told me I wasn’t walking fast enough as far as he was concerned,” John Johnson said. “As I kept walking, I said, ‘I’m being respectful. So is my daughter. We’re leaving.’”
When the activist continued pestering John Johnson, who stands about 6’4″ and weighs 300 lbs, Johnson said, “Cool it. You can see that we’re leaving. I’m twice your size, and I don’t appreciate your rudeness.”
That’s when Johnson says the man made the remark about blood and AIDS, which Johnson considered a threat. “I felt threatened that this person would give me HIV,” Johnson said that day in a phone interview.
After numerous requests for information, the Clear Lake police confirmed on Monday, July 9th that they were called to the Vilsack meet and greet, and talked to Johnson and looked for the other man who made the remarks. A Clear Lake police spokeswoman said the man had fled the scene and could not be located. Johnson and his daughter described the man as about 5′-8″ tall, 40s in age, wearing khakis and flip flops, with brownish hair.
The Vilsack campaign also returned a phone message where information was requested. After a discussion, a spokesman said they would look into the incident and call back. The Vilsack campaign did not call back a second time regarding the matter.