TUCSON, Ariz. — Another Donald Trump event erupted in violence in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday night: a rally attendee was arrested after he punched and repeatedly kicked a protester as he was being escorted out of the rally by security.
Additionally, Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio – who has endorsed Trump because of the GOP front-runner’s immigration stance – said his officers locked up protesters who blocked a main highway leading to the rally and “threw them in jail.”
Arpaio, who assured the crowd at the event that he believes Trump will deliver on his promise to build a giant wall on the border with Mexico, has introduced Trump at multiple campaign events.
Trump’s campaign events have displayed levels of violence during the 2016 White House campaign that most political experts can’t remember seeing in their lifetime in national politics. Many have accused the GOP front-runner of inciting the violence. Trump has dismissed the frequent aggressiveness and fisticuffs as the work of “thugs” who don’t support him.
The unidentified protester who was punched Saturday was being escorted out after disrupting Trump’s rally with a woman wearing Ku Klux Klan headgear. At a rally in Chicago, a similar incident occurred when a Trump protester was sucker-punched as he was being escorted from a rally. The attacker has since been charged with assault.
The woman in the incident in Tuscon kept her headgear on as she was escorted out by police, only taking the white cloth off of her head after the protester in front of her was punched. The protester was later released, per the Tucson police.
Moments before the attack, Trump spotted the Ku Klux Klan hat in the crowd and called for his security to remove the protester.
“There’s a disgusting guy, puts a Ku Klux Klan hat on, he thinks he’s cute, he’s a disgusting guy,” Trump said to the crowd. “That is a disgusting guy, really disgusting. A big wheel, a big wheel.”
“They’re taking away our First Amendment rights, they’re troublemakers, they’re no good, and we’d better be careful,” Trump said after the altercation occurred in the stands. “We’ve got to take our country back, folks.”
Trump continued to deliver his stump to the Tucson crowd, attempting to speak loudly over another contingency of protesters standing behind him loudly jeering and waving signs that read “F*** Trump.”
Eventually, a gaggle of private security detail including Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and Daniel Scavino, a Senior Adviser to the campaign, infiltrated the pocket of protesters in order to escort them out of the venue.
Lewandowski has already sparked controversy on the campaign trail, having beenaccused of roughly handling a female reporter for Breitbart.
A video from CBS News shows a member of Trump’s security detail grab an aggressive protester from one side in order to remove him from his seat.
Although Lewandowski was next to the Trump security guard who grabbed the protester, Trump’s spokeswoman insisted that Lewandowski did not touch the protester himself.
“Corey Lewandowski was speaking with a protester at today’s rally in Tucson, Arizona when the individual he was speaking with was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski’s left. The video clearly shows the protester reacting to the man who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski. Mr. Trump does not condone violence at his rallies, which are private events paid for by the campaign,” Trump’s spokeswoman wrote in an email.
“I hate to have ’em arrested, you know, we have this hall, this is our hall, and we could have him arrested, really they’re trespassing, you do that – you ruin their lives, who wants to do it, right?” Trump said to the crowd, addressing the disruptive kerfuffle occurring behind him.