A Donald Trump supporter was charged with a battery after a video surfaced showing him ripping a mask off the face of a counterprotestant during a rally for the outgoing president in Florida.
Dan Orval Ditto, Jr. of Pensacola is charged with simple assault. The 58-year-old is vice chairman of the local Republican party.
The victim, allegedly a 21-year-old woman, claimed that the man scratched her face when he took the mask off her. She is said to have told the police that she wanted to file charges.
The altercation is said to have taken place on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in downtown Pensacola at a “Stop the Steal” rally in support of Donald Trump.
The video footage shows a small group of counterprotestants insisting that the election results be respected.
A bearded man wearing a Trump brand polo shirt then grabs the victim before ripping the mask it was wearing off his face.
He was then pushed back by a Trump supporter wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.
In the seconds that followed, both Trump followers and counterprotesters were involved in a heated exchange of blows before the victim ripped off a shield that was believed to have been worn by Dito Jr.
#Development: Things get ugly at a “Stop the Theft” Trump rally in Pensacola. A Trump supporter rips a mask off a woman’s face after she and another man tried to convince the crowd to accept the results of the presidential race. @RebekahCastorTV with more at 4,5,6&10-PM pic.twitter.com/l0nfwUXYaN
– AlShowersWEAR-TV (@WEARTV_Showers) November 9, 2020
According to a police report quoted in the local media, the woman said that “an elderly white man approached her and shoved her with his shield.
The report said the victim “asked the man to stop and pushed his shield away from her.
The man is said to have then “grabbed her backpack strap and pulled her and took the mask off her face”.
About 100 people gathered in the city to protest the outcome of the presidential election, which Trump continues to call won, despite the fact that President-elect Joe Biden had received more than the 270 votes of the electoral college needed to take office.
John Roberts, leader of the Republican Party of Escambia County, told the local network WEAR that Ditto Jr. was vice-chairman of the group, but said it was “too early in the process to comment and the legal system should be allowed to function. He added: “The party is against any violence and disturbances.
At Sunday’s rally, demonstrators claimed that the election was “not over yet” and some held signs saying “Stop the theft.
Rally organizer Bill Fetke, who heads the Trump Team 2020: Escambia County Chapter, told WEAR: “The media does not decide who the next president will be. It is us, the people”.
Angie Carter, who attended the demonstration, told the station: “What is happening in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona is wrong. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat, it’s wrong.”
Washington Newsday has asked the Pensacola police for a comment….