Update – October 12, 9:25 a.m.: Public Information Officer Chuck Mulligan of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office told Law&Crime in a phone interview that there was no arrest because the older man had advanced on the younger person, sticking his fingers in his face.
“Was the older man going to strike him?” he said. “No one can tell you.”
Mullligan said that the older man had confronted the younger regarding the flag because there were children in the area.
Deputies initially closed the investigation after seeing the video. The media got their hands on the footage after authorities declined to pursue charges, Mulligan said.
He said Monday morning that he checked with the district commander, however. The investigation was still open because more individuals stepped forward with video, he said. It may change things, it may not, Mulligan said.
Our original article is below.
Deputies in St. John’s County, Florida say there’s going to be no charges in a fight between a 72-year-old man, and a much younger counterprotester. The incident happened Saturday, authorities said in a WJXT.
According to the official account, the older person asked the younger to take off a flag from his golf cart for featuring profanity. The things escalated to the younger man punching the 72-year-old in the head, and knocking him down, investigators said. The puncher then left in the golf cart.
As seen on video from the counterprotester’s point-of-view, they argue over a flag, which was censored in the footage. The outlet described it as a “defaced Trump flag.”
The older man–who was wearing what seemed to be a MAGA hat–said the younger did not have the right to display that vulgarity. The younger told him to ask the cops. The older man approached, sticking at finger out.
“Get out of my face, or you’re going to get hurt,” said the younger.
The actual punch was not caught on tape, but the older man can be seen falling across the sidewalk and grass.
“I’m defending myself,” said the younger man, getting into the golf cart.
The 72-year-old described the younger man as the aggressor. He denied touching the counterprotester.
“I think he has to rethink his whole attitude about things,” he told the outlet. “Clearly, this political environment we’re in does not need to resort to violence. In respect of what he said, I did not touch him. If I did anything, it was in a defensive mode.”
The outlet described him as having bruises on his head and arms, but he said he recovered quickly, and did not seek medical help.
In an interview, the younger man continued to maintain self-defense.
“I’m not proud of this,” he told WJXT. “I’m not happy that it happened. I genuinely wish that he did not close that space and swing on me because I did not want to do that. I did not want to put anybody at risk of falling and hitting their head. He was obviously an older man. I knew that it was going to get twisted and misconstrued. I just knew it was a disaster I was just trying to counterprotest peacefully.”
[Screengrab via WJXT]
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