Unite Norman

Tensions are rising between Unite Norman supporters and those opposing the movement to recall the mayor and City Council.

In a video posted to Facebook on Tuesday night, Sassan Moghadam, co-founder of Unite Norman, appears to throw something at a group of teenagers in a car.

The Transcript obtained permission to publish the video, but the individuals in the car did not want to be interviewed.

Norman Police Department spokesperson Sarah Jensen said police responded to an incident that occurred on the 2800 block of 36th Avenue Northwest regarding a group of individuals in a vehicle causing a disturbance with another group located in the same parking lot.

“When officers arrived on scene, the two groups were separated,” Jensen said. “A police report was completed. The incident is currently under investigation.”

According to the police report, the individuals in the car were getting food at El Toro Chino. The driver started playing the song “F---k Donald Trump” loudly in an attempt to harass the members of Unite Norman.

“[The driver] stated they also were flipping off those individuals and yelling expletives,” the report said.

The report said the driver was approached by a man holding a brick. The driver was told by Moghadam he was trespassing on private property. While Moghadam was telling the individuals this, he was leaning into the car and had his hands inside the vehicle.

Mohghadam said the individuals in the car were staring at the Unite Norman members as if they were going to cause problems, according to the report. Moghadam told police the Unite Norman movement has received many threats and heckling, “so they are on edge.”

The individuals in the car started going the wrong way down a one-way drive and Moghadam was concerned about their driving behavior, the report said.

“[Moghadam] stated he approached their car and told them they were under citizen’s arrest,” the report said. “[Moghadam] stated words were exchanged and the driver rolled up his window.”

According to the report, the window scraped Moghadam’s arm. He then placed the brick underneath the car’s back tire, but the driver started backing out.

“When they backed out, they ran over [Moghadam’s] foot,” the report said. “It was at that time he picked up the brick and threw it at their car.”

The driver was given the opportunity to press charges in the form of a city docket, but he declined, the report said.

Moghadam told police he wanted a police report about the incident.

No one has been arrested or charged as of press time.

In the video, Moghadam appears to be holding a brick in the window. The driver in the car then can be heard saying, “I’m going to roll the window up then drive away.”

Another individual in the car then asks, “Are they blocking us?” and “He’s putting it behind your wheel,” in reference to the brick the individual was holding.

The driver then proceeds to reverse over the brick. As the driver is reversing, Moghadam can be heard making a screaming sound and then bends over and picks up an object that appears to be the brick and throws it at the car.

As the vehicle drives away, a person in the car then exclaims, “I f------ hate Republicans!”

Unite Norman, which claims to be a nonpartisan organization, filed recall petitions July 10 for Mayor Breea Clark and wards 1,3,5 and 7.

Petitioners have until Aug. 14 to return signatures from 25% of the registered voters for each public official. A recall election would be set for January.

When Moghadam was asked by The Transcript why he had the brick, why he placed it behind the car and why he threw it, he released the following statement:

“People have grown tired of the harassment and bullying tactics of the far-left supporters of this council and mayor, whom so far have refused to condemn their actions of stealing campaign property, threatening women on the Unite Norman team and doxxing police officers’ homes. Unite Norman will not tolerate agitators who show up to do harm to our volunteers who are working very hard to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in Norman.”

In a Facebook post on Tuesday night after the incident occurred, Unite Norman co-founder Russell Smith said he presumed the car arrived to “run people over.”

“[The] car circled the parking lot multiple times, then turned the wrong way down a row of parking as our members were walking out of the event,” Smith said in the statement.

Smith then claimed in the statement that the driver ran over Moghadam’s foot and that is when he stopped the car and told them he was calling the police.

Smith said he is calling upon the mayor and council members to speak out against the harassment made toward the recall movement.

“Before someone gets seriously injured, we once again call upon the mayor and the council members to tell their supporters they condemn this behavior in the strongest of terms,” Smith said in the statement.

Ward 7 Councilman Stephen Holman released a statement in response but condemned the actions of Moghadam.

"I absolutely condemn Unite Norman and their actions," Holman said. "Especially those of their leader Sassan Moghadam."

Ward 3 Alison Petrone said the matter was concerning. 

"The video evidence circulating on social media of Unite Norman's co-founder, Sassan Moghadam, apparently attempting to detain minors against their will and without parental consent, then ultimately throwing a brick at the teens' vehicle as they tried to leave is certainly concerning."

Mayor Clark did not provide a reply at press time. 

On July 20, another incident occurred where a 53-year-old Norman man was honking his horn for an extended period of time at a Unite Norman pop-up tent location, according to a police report.

The Transcript obtained a copy of the official complaint filed by another Norman citizen. According to the report, the man pulled into a parking lot near 320 12th Avenue Southeast and honked his horn continuously for upwards of 15 minutes.

“I got up and asked him to stop honking (15-20 seconds after he started honking),” the individual wrote in the complaint. “He refused to and rolled up his window.”

The man was taking photos of the tent and the three other people underneath it, according to the report. The reporting party took a picture of the man, his car and license plate.

The person filing the report walked over to Firehouse Subs to borrow a phone to call the police.

Upon returning to the tent, the reporting party videoed the man continuing to honk his car horn, according to the report. The man then stopped honking his horn when the Norman Police Department arrived. No one was arrested in that incident.

rgorman@normantranscript.com / mwood@normantranscript.com

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