A 20-year-old Ohio man pleaded not guilty to battery Thursday after he allegedly sucker punched a Trump supporter at an anti-illegal immigration rally in Laguna Beach, CA, on Sunday, officials said.
Richard Losey was charged with one misdemeanor count of battery, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Laguna Beach police arrested Losey on suspicion of battery with a hate crime enhancement, but prosecutors determined “there is not enough evidence” to charge him with the enhancement.
“Political motivation is not an area covered under hate crimes in the penal code,” Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the district attorney, said in a statement.
Police said R.C. Maxwell was “peacefully” speaking with a group of people at Main Beach Park when the counter-protester punched him.
Maxwell, a black Trump supporter, told The Times he went to speak with counter-protesters “trying to find commonalities” and was explaining his views when he was attacked. He said he was also pepper-sprayed and choked.
The confrontation was captured on video that was posted to social media.
In the video, Maxwell is surrounded by a crowd of counter-protesters, some with bandanas covering their faces.
“There is a problem with illegal immigration; I speak out against that. That doesn’t make me a Nazi,” Maxwell says.
“You’re a traitor!” someone shouts over him.
“People want you in chains, dude,” another voice says.
“If you want to keep the peace, you should leave,” someone says.
Shortly after, Maxwell is knocked to the ground.
SOURCE: Alene Tchekmedyian
The Los Angeles Times