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Healthcare reform activist bites off fingertip of 65-year-old man, authorities say [Updated]

Authorities today are searching for a healthcare reform activist who they said bit off the fingertip of a 65-year-old man during a fight at a MoveOn.org rally in Thousand Oaks. 

[Updated at 5:16 p.m.: A previous version of this post reported that the activist had bitten off the finger of a counter-demonstrator. Authorities now say that only the tip of the man's finger was bitten off, and that the 65-year-old victim told them he was not demonstrating at the time of the fight.]

“It all started with their difference in philosophy over healthcare reform,” said Senior Deputy Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident occurred about 7 p.m. Wednesday at a “We Can’t Afford to Wait Vigil” organized by affiliates of the activist group MoveOn.org, which drew supporters of President Obama’s healthcare plan, Buschow said. The rally also attracted several counter-protesters, he said. 

[Updated at 5 p.m.: During the rally at Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive, near the Oaks Mall, the suspect and William James Rice got into a heated argument and began fighting, Buschow said. Rice, of Newbury Park, punched the suspect after the man called him an "idiot," Buschow said.

At that point, one man bit off the the tip of Rice's left pinkie finger, Buschow said.

Rice then drove himself to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, about a mile away, Buschow said.  A witness picked up the detached fingertip after the suspect spit it out and drove it to the hospital. Buschow said doctors told the victim that they could not reattach the fingertip because of the high risk of infection.]

Ilyse Hogue, director of political advocacy and communications for MoveOn.org, called the incident “a regrettable act of violence” in a statement released this morning.

“While we do not have any more facts about what happened than what we saw in press accounts, MoveOn condemns violence in all forms,” Hogue said. “We support the Ventura County sheriff’s investigation into the situation. It is in our firm hope that this event does not detract from the tens of thousands who were out peacefully making their voices heard for health care reform and a public option.”

Authorities said they are looking for a white male in his late 40s or 50s who was last seen wearing black shorts and a black shirt. 

“We’re still trying to figure out who was the aggressor,” Buschow said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department at (805) 494-8201.

—Ruben Vives

Comments () | Archives (454)

Yeah--bussed-in union thugs and Move-on 'wonders' who was the aggressor.

My 'finger' to Move-on is my song Barractologist @


It should all be on traffic camera video tape. If not, he was probably a paid protestor by Obama and record of him may exist there. This guy should be caught within 24 hours

James - be careful. You appear to be inciting violence with your comment that the counter-protester "deserved it." The only sensible thing in your pathetic comment is that you apparently understood that the counter-protestor was a "victim." Good for you to even understand the basics dynamics of this event. With that knowledge; who or which group was likely to have been an "ignorant" or "intolerant" fashion? Once you've figured that out, you'll be ready to join the CIVIL SOCIETY.

I'm sure the counter-demonstrator is glad that he id old enough to have medicare.

The bankrupt la times calls this criminal thug a"healthcare reform activist"??
Someone took a picture of this happening ,please contact the authorities.

If people stopped pointing fingers? Would you say that, if this is the case, biting off said fingers is an appropriate reaction?

It's politics! Differences of opinion build social capital.

This proves, however, that the man backs his opinions much more emotionally than logically (a common trait among both wings), and it has lost this man the right to be taken seriously.

The "Moveon Demonstrator" was obviously a plant from one of the Health Insurance supported groups. I mean, if they will let you die by not paying for your needed care, they would think nothing of biting off an old man's finger.
Definitely a plant from the anti's

Ummmm...it was his pinky. I don't think he was wagging that in the other guy's face. This is thug behavior. He just "happened" to walk through a counter-protest? Oh sure. He also just "happened" to confront an aggressive 65 year old guy. You figure it out.

Yeah the guy was waving his finger at him...his pinkie finger, are you that stupid and desperate to find a way to blame the right. You progressives are all the same, nothing but cowards and thugs. You don't want to hear any one's opinions but your own and will re-act violently if you don't get your way. I hope the media does not hide this story, the American public needs to know the hysteria and the violent actions of this group. The FBI should be investigating this group.

The democratic party is being used by radical socialists. This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. The enemy is within and you all are to blind to see it. Get off the political party they versus we dribble. Wake the hell up! BOTH parties have failed this country and as such are rightly to be blamed for their failures. But dont let allegience to a party taint or block your view of truth or reality. They want us to be divided so we cant see what they really are doing. When a President asks the media, artists (NEA) etc to dissemniate his message or influence YOU then we are on our way to facism. Get it yet?

When Mike Tyson knew that he wasn't going to be able to beat Evander Holyfield, his mind couldn't handle that reality, so he freaked out a bit off part of Holyfield's ear.

Now that liberals are realizing that they are in a no-win situation with this health care fiasco, their minds can't deal with that reality, so they are biting the fingers off of senior citizens.

Is anyone really surprised? The surprising thing is that it is being reported.

Brought to you by George Soros. Hey commie....are YOU gonna pay for this? Since it was probably YOU that sent his guy to bite off the other guy's finger!

James says "he deserved it" [sic]???? Who's the violent one? So if James' kid keeps looking at me I have the right to slap him because I told him to stop??

More like MORON.org. Charter member I'm guessing.

Did he bite off his "right" or "left" finger? I too, hope he has insurance.

It's going to get ugly, the longer we go without killing this whole stupid socialism thing.Let's have Medicare and Medicaid cleaned up of all fraud and managed in an efficient manner before we let the government ruin the best health care system the world has ever known.Sometimes it takes more than finger pointing and yelling to get through the thick intolerant skulls of liberals. Obama has the entire economy in the toilet and his hand is on the lever. Those are the fingers that ought to be chopped off before he pulles the handle

Both sides of this argument sound like pathetic whimpering vermin if you ask me. Stop pointing fingers at each other, at politicians, at insurance companies, and start blaming the greedy scumbags who've created this mess: doctors. I used to hate insurance companies, because they are very greedy and you cannot count on them at all to do anything but try to destroy you, but after seeing a doctor charge my insurance $5,650 for removing a small cyst on my arm, I realized that doctors are the problem. Even with insurance I have to pay $830 for something that could've been done by a regular M.D., in a regular office, for a few hundred dollars, even with outrageous markups. This system is absurd, broken, and a complete slap in the face of decent, hardworking Americans. I blame the doctors.

If this would of happened in San Francisco, something else might have been bitten off.

What was that guy's finger doing in his mouth? Was he pulling on this guy's face? I'd bite off anybody's finger if it was in my mouth... Generally speaking one does not grab a hand and start chewing on digits.... Get real!!

The biter needs to go to jail for a long time. Anyone who could bite someone's finger off is capable of doing much worse. He may have infected the old man with anything. If my finger got bitten off by one of those wackos, I would not ask to have it reattached.

I heard the story told by Scott who was the bystander who found the finger and took it to the injured man at the hospital. From what I heard it sounded like the Move On.Org person picked out the weekest person in the crown and picked a fight with him pulling him off the sidewalk and into the street where the altercation occurred.

This does not surprise me as to the pro helth care reform group of Moveon.Org. It has been evident in other situations where those who are against Health Care Reform have been accosted by the group. I witnessed a person being elbowed by a pro health care supporter.

This is crazy ... What happened to fredom of expression/freedom of speach. Has the Obama taken that way too?

....hope the guy with his finger chewed off had his rabies shot.....

So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'


"And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, 'Do business with this until I come back.

Geneva Study Bible

{5} And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

(5) There are three sorts of men in the Church: the one sort fall from Christ whom they do not see; the other, according to their God given position, bestow the gifts which they have received from God to his glory, with great pains and diligence; the third live idly and do no good. As for the first, the Lord when he comes will justly punish them in his time; the second he will bless according to the pains which they have taken; and as for the slothful and idle persons, he will punish them like the first.

The right of representation and self-determination was one of the primary reasons for our Constitution. All our founders were ministers of the Word of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Word is the proven absolute truth. The standards the founders set in place were not there own but inspired by the cohesive gospel truth. The Bible is proven to be truth through scripture interrelated by each of the 66 books of the Holy Scriptures. Our Nation has been guided by the Providence of the Sovereign God of the Universe. This nation is the only government that has not changed forms of government. The Mayflower Compact, the Monroe Doctrine, The United States Constitution, and The Bible are interwoven with each other.

They are a road map for all those that choose to follow. How will you use your free will? Jesus says; "To lose is to gain".

1 John 4: "Perfect Love casts out fear”

The Tea Party Movement is no different than the American Revolution, the Christian Revival Movements of 1735-42, The Prayer Movement of 1857, and 1900; that is seen as The Holy Spirit enveloping God's believing creation to awaken his children to the truth.

God Bless You

The man literally was ging the guy the finger

So many comments, so much ignorance. Some have commented that the older gentleman has Medicare and so he can be treated but others can't because they have no insurance. By U.S. law, no one can be refused emergency treatment at a hospital, whether they have insurance or not. This law was passed during the Clinton era.

Get a little bit informed people.

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