Washington’s GOP congressional candidate Craig Keller was involved in an argument with a group of youths over a sign against Joe Biden in the Ballard district of Seattle on Wednesday.
Videos of the incident show the group of teenagers trying to steal Keller’s sign saying “Jus Say No 2 Slo Joe” during a roadside rally for President Donald Trump and the state’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Loren Culp.
One video shows a young girl trying to take the sign from Keller. He kicks and pushes her away from him and onto the street, while oncoming cars try to drive by.
Republican Craig Keller runs to the congressionally ousted RepJayapal – yesterday he was at a rally in Ballard where Trump supporters clashed with a group of teenagers. Video, story & a man who recorded the incident @ Lunch @KIRO7Seattle pic.twitter.com/TmvSlcG4tu
– Ranji Sinha (@RanjiKIRO7) October 29, 2020
Two other youths then take the sign and run away, with Keller running after them. At one point, Keller is seen falling to the ground and grabbing one of the youths by the ankles, while another tramples on the sign in the background.
On Thursday, the first teenager wrote in an Instagram post that Keller had exposed him during the attack.
“Before I knew my pants were being pulled down, he tried to expose me, and he ended up tearing my pants while I was being kicked and trampled on, before a stranger helped me up,” the teenager wrote. He said the friends in the group were between 12 and 15 years old.
After pushing away the teenager who stepped on the sign, the congressional candidate confronted one of the girls in the group. “This is not your property,” he told her.
“You shouldn’t have kicked her into the street,” you hear another teenager say. “You kicked a little girl onto the street.”
Shortly thereafter, the camera records an unidentified adult man wearing a blue shirt and a “Make America Great Again” hat, who grabs one of the teenagers, picks it up and slams it to the floor with his body, causing an outcry from the witnesses.
In an e-mail, Keller told Tekk.tv that the event was “nothing” and that “the theft and the recovery of the sign was more likely staged by the teenagers he called “Children of the Corn” (a reference to a 1984 horror movie). He also denied that he grabbed a teenager by the ankles or pulled down his pants.
Keller told KIRO-TV in Seattle that the teenagers’ actions violated his First Amendment rights. “These kids ripped off our signs and tried to steal them,” he said. “We were just trying to track them and get our sign back.” He also accused the schools of producing “corrupted” children.
Keller is competing against Democratic MP Pramila Jayapal in the race for the 7th district.
A teenager involved in the incident told KIRO that the youths had acted “out of impulse” when they tried to express their opinion on the upcoming presidential elections.
“It just clicked in my head: Hey, stand up for what you believe in,” the teenager told the news channel.
Regarding the unidentified man who killed one of the children, Keller told KIRO that he didn’t know who he was but thought the man was just trying to defend him. “I think the other guy was trying to keep the other children from surrounding me,” he said.
Seattle police said they responded to the incident and documented it, but neither side decided to press charges, KIRO said.
Tekk.tv contacted Seattle police for further comments, but did not return in time for publication.