Presidential Debate Drama: Candidates Arrested Near Debate Site (Video)

Green Party hopeful Jilll Stein and her running mate are popped for disorderly conduct after trying to gain entry to debate grounds

Last Updated: October 16, 2012 @ 5:36 PM

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney haven't yet begun their second pre-election faceoff, but already the sparks are flying. At least outside of the venue.

Getty ImagesGreen Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. on Tuesday, after attempting to gain access to the event.

Also read: Debate Rules Leaked: What the Candidates Can't Do

According to Stein's campaign, the pair (pictured) was met by uniformed and plainclothes police officers as they walked with supporters toward the Hofstra campus, at which point Stein called the debate a "mockumentary," adding, "We are here to bring the courage of those excluded from our politics to this mock debate, this mockery of democracy."

Stein and Hokala proceeded toward the debate area, and were "physically stopped" and "pushed … back" by police, the Stein campaign said. After sitting down on the sidewalk, the pair were arrested.

According to the Stein campaign, the pair were told that they would be arrested for obstructing traffic — a charge that Alex Howard, a lawyer for the campaign, called "bogus" — but a spokesman for the Nassau County Police Department told TheWrap they were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Also read: Presidential Debate: When and Where to Watch the Second Showdown

The police spokesman was unable to tell TheWrap if Stein and Honkala were still in custody.

In a release, the Stein campaign lambasted the debate structure, complaining that the criteria for the debates "is designed to exclude independent presidential contenders who promote ideas that challenge those in power."

Watch video of the incident below.