17 Year Old Trump Supporter Punched in Face by Protester

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Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News MN

It scared me more than anything. I didn’t think I was gonna get hit – I’m just this little girl…

SAINT PAUL, MN –  As Alpha News reported, six anti-Trump protesters were arrested during the March 4, 2017 rally for Trump at the State Capitol.  One of the protesters arrested has been identified as Senator and former VP candidate, Tim Kaine’s son Linwood “Woody” Kaine.  The Ramsey County Attorney’s office has declined to charge the six protesters on the basis of not having enough factual evidence.  The State Patrol moved the case to the City of St. Paul for review and further investigation.

An anti-Trump protester is apprehended by police during the March 4th rally for Trump at the Minnesota State Capitol. Photo: Lisa Richwine Olson
An anti-Trump protester is apprehended by police during the March 4th rally for Trump at the Minnesota State Capitol. Photo: Lisa Richwine Olson

Alpha News interviewed a family of rally attendees who witnessed the violence at the rally first hand, who asked that we not publish their last names.  “Riley” is a petite 17 year old high school senior, not quite five feet tall and slight of build.  She and her boyfriend went to the rally with her dad to show support for President Trump and for friends who were involved with organizing and were presenting at the rally.  Her father, John, describes their political affiliation as “patriots.”  He told Alpha News that he has raised his children to support the President of the United States no matter who the POTUS is or what party the president represents.  

John told Alpha News that he and his children have been upset by the attacks on President Trump, saying, “He’s been in office less than two months.  Give the guy a chance.”  Though they attended the rally in support of Trump, Riley nor her boyfriend wore anything that identified them as Trump supporters, nor were they carrying signs professing their support.

Riley and her boyfriend found themselves separated from her dad during the rally.  She said they were trying to listen to the speakers but found themselves pushed to the front of the area where the Trump supporters and the protesters were facing off:

I got pushed forward, and this dude with a beard spit at my boyfriend and I, like right at our faces.  As I went to get back to get away from it all, I got punched like really really hard right in the face.  It broke my glasses – pushed my glasses right into my face – by this dude who had his face covered in a mask – those black masks they were all wearing – he was completely blacked out – all you could see was their eyes.  It scared me more than anything. I didn’t think I was gonna get hit – I’m just this little girl – after that my boyfriend went over top of me and pushed the dude back and everyone was trying to get me out of there because they had seen what had happened.  
As I got off to the side, an officer came over and asked me if I was ok.  My nose was swollen and my glasses were on the floor – I quick picked them up.  My dad found me and he was talking to me and he was so worried – everyone was so worried – and my dad told me “get away from it – go elsewhere, they’re all right here” so my boyfriend and I went upstairs just because they weren’t up there yet.”

Riley described the man who punched her as a “grown man.”  She said she has bruising on her face, her nose was swollen and her glasses were broken so badly that she has to triple-tape them in order to wear them when driving. John told Alpha News that he talked with the police officers and showed them which protester had hit his daughter (as identified by Riley and her boyfriend).  He also filled out a complaint with the intent of pressing charges, but the person who attacked Riley was not one of the six protesters arrested that day.

Riley's broken glasses.
Riley’s broken glasses.

“It was like watching a movie…”

Riley described the scene she saw unfolding before her as “something out of the movies.” She continued:

“We wanted to still watch the speeches and stuff.  We thought that the protesters would go away or just quiet down but that didn’t happen. We were away from it, so we didn’t really get to see what happened after I got hit – it all kind of exploded.  Then there was other fights that were just happening and breaking out everywhere – we were getting pepper-sprayed, my boyfriend and I both were misted with pepper spray. My boyfriend also got directly pepper sprayed by one of the protesters. My boyfriend was trying to get this biker dude out of there because the protesters were kicking his face and he was bleeding.  I didn’t want to go back down by it because I didn’t want to get hit again, so I grabbed my boyfriend’s hand and pulled him away. I got misted with mace and it was burning and I was screaming, it was the first time I’d ever gotten maced – I didn’t think I was going to get maced at the State Capitol! I didn’t think any of this was gonna happen.  

Last fall, 20,000 people attended the rally for Trump at the airport without any issues. Riley attended that event, too, and said she felt safe going to the March rally because of her experience at the November event and because this one was at the Capitol. Her experience at the rally for Trump last Saturday was far different than the one in November:

I thought we were going to be fine being at the Capitol.  It was more scary than anything. I mean, there were smoke bombs going off, there were sirens going off, people were honking air-horns, there was a taser pulled – it was more scary than anything. It was like watching a movie – people were running, and they had masks – it was scary.

After the rally, Riley said she went outside and had other attendees asking her if she was ok. They also told her their experiences: many had also been maced and hit by the protesters.  Her father John said he was hit by a “commercial-military grade incendiary device” at one point, too.

One thing Riley repeated during the interview was her disbelief that all the violence occurred at the State Capitol.  She said, “I was walking through the State Capitol and had to see people in bulletproof vests and masks – I’ll probably never go back to the Capitol again! It was crazy.  It was like, you know when you turn on the news and you see how bad the protests can really get?  You see like the fights?  I never thought that it really would happen in real life.  It blew my mind that it was at the State Capitol! It’s our STATE CAPITOL!”

Alpha News asked Riley if she would go back to a rally if she knew protesters would be there.  Riley responded:

“I would go, but I probably wouldn’t be as close (to the protesters) as I was. I would definitely stand back because I’d come more prepared I guess?  If they had weapons, no, probably not. But if there were protesters, I’m always going to stand up for what I believe in. No one is ever going to take my right to go to my State Capitol to go and listen to a prayer.  No one is ever going to scare me away from that, even if I have to get hit.  It doesn’t matter, I’m always going to stand up for what I believe in.”

The Chairman of the Republican Party in St. Paul, John Krenik, called Saturday’s rally protesters “bullies against free speech.” He also believes that politics played a role in the county attorney’s office decision not to charge Linwood Kaine, son of Sen. Tim Kaine, because St. Paul is a DFL city the Pioneer Press reported.

“I have contacted the U.S. Department of Justice for a full investigation and review of St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi’s actions in not prosecuting these terrorists’ criminal acts,” Krenik said in a statement. “I am asking both John Choi and Samuel Clark to recuse themselves and appoint outside review of these terrorists’ actions, as their objectiveness has clearly been clouded by their political affiliation and Democrat Party loyalty.”
The Ramsey County attorney’s office said Monday it had “declined to file criminal charges as there were insufficient facts to prove felony-level riot. We referred the case back to the investigative agency (Minnesota State Patrol), and it is our understanding that they have presented the case to the St. Paul City Attorney’s office for consideration of misdemeanor-level riot charges.” ~ Pioneer Press

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