Why so hush-hush about Rubicon bruhaha?

York Dispatch editorial board

It doesn't seem like it should take two weeks for police to file a disorderly conduct charge.

And yet, more than two weeks after state Sen. Mike Regan had a physical altercation with a protester outside a Harrisburg restaurant, two weeks after Michael Bagdes-Canning was told he would be receiving a disorderly conduct citation, a check of online court records shows no charges of any kind for Bagdes-Canning in Dauphin County.

A citation would at least indicate law enforcement is taking the situation seriously and investigating. Yet various officials in law enforcement and in the Legislature appear to have closed ranks and aren't speaking about what happened Jan. 31 outside the Rubicon.

Bagdes-Canning was wearing a white hazmat suit and kneeling as part of a protest outside the door to the restaurant, where Regan, R-Camp Hill, was going to a fundraiser for state Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster. With the protester blocking the entrance, the senator and former U.S. Marshal used his left arm to move Bagdes-Canning out of his way, then stepped over him into the restaurant.

Progressive activist Sean Kitchen shared video of the incident. Bagdes-Canning said the incident with Regan left him in "intense pain," but that had gone away after a few days.

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Bagdes-Canning was told by an officer that he would receive a disorderly conduct charge, so far that hasn't happened.

What's more, Harrisburg police, Capitol police and the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office refuse to talk about what happened. Regan's chief of staff, who was there, says that he was afraid for the people inside the restaurant.

"Those people were trapped inside, and they looked like were in danger," said Bruce McLanahan, Regan's chief of staff, who is shown in the Jan. 31 video opening the door for Regan.

Really? None of the protesters were inside the Rubicon, and the door that McLanahan opened was actually for Manag Qui, another restaurant that shares space with the Rubicon.

Video of the encounter shows state Sen. Mike Regan grasp Michael Bagdes-Canning by the shoulder and move him away from the door of the restaurant.

Bagdes-Canning, who uses a cane and ran as the Green Party's candidate for lieutenant governor in 2022, said he's still considering his options for civil litigation.

Michael Huff, an attorney who's been advising Bagdes-Canning, said there's occasionally a delay between the citation being issued and when it's filed with the court. If that citation ever does get filed, Huff said he'd be representing the activist.

"Obviously, we’re not happy with the fact that it was the senator who moved him from the site where he was practicing his First Amendment rights," Huff said. "We’re very disappointed in his actions."

We are also disappointed in the actions of Regan, whose district includes northern York County. Yes, the protesters were in the way. That's what protesters often do, get in the way of people they want to draw the attention of.

We expect there to be an investigation into what happened on Jan. 31, especially since police at the scene said there would be charges filed. The fact that two weeks have gone by and no one in law enforcement is willing to speak about the incident tells us that officials would rather just let this incident pass on by without another glance.