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Nobody should be attacked for their political views, Charlie Chase says.
But according to authorities, that’s exactly what happened last week to the 82-year-old U.S. military veteran and supporter of President Trump.
The Fall River, Mass., man says he was holding a Trump sign and wearing a Trump hat when suddenly a motorist allegedly got out of his car and charged toward him.
“Give me the (expletive) sign!” the suspect said, according to police.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) June 5, 2020
“The guy, when he came at me, I had never seen a horror story … that the face was so filled with hate and anger, as his was,” Chase told WPRI-TV of Providence, R.I.
Everything happened so fast that Chase had to ask a buddy what transpired, he said.
“According to the other fella that was with me, I didn’t know that [the suspect] had lifted me up, but he apparently lifted me up and flung me down on my back to the ground,” Chase told the station.
The suspect, identified as Aidan Courtright, 27, of Fall River, also grabbed Chase’s Trump sign, tore it in half, and threw it on the ground, the Providence Journal reported.
After Chase landed on the ground, the suspect allegedly kicked the elderly man in his ribs and legs before returning to his vehicle and driving away, police said.
Police responded to the scene on a call that Chase was “violently targeted for his political views and violently assaulted,” the Journal reported. The offices saw visible bruising on Chase’s lower back and he was treated at a local hospital, the report said.
— Providence Journal (@projo) June 4, 2020
Courtright later turned himself in after being contacted by authorities. He was charged with a civil-rights violation with injury, assault and battery on a person over 60, vandalism of personal property, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the report said.
Donald Trump Jr. learned about the story and posted a Twitter message Friday.
“What kind of person commits violence against an elderly man?” Trump wrote.
An 82 year old wearing a Trump hat was attacked by a leftwing nut job in Massachusetts. All political violence is wrong, but what kind of person commits violence against an elderly man?
If anyone has contact info for the victim please send my way.pic.twitter.com/NuOjnxbxhW
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 5, 2020
After a hearing Thursday, the suspect was released and ordered to have no contact with Chase or post anything political online, with a date to return to court Aug. 6, WPRI reported.
Chase told the station that political differences should be addressed through conversation rather than violence.
“If you’ve got something, listen to what they’re saying, figure out whether you agree you don’t agree — ‘Ah some of that’s good, maybe I should change some of the things I think’,” he said. “That’s the American way.”