Could supporting Donald Trump get you assaulted? A St. John’s University coed is the alleged victim of an assault, which witnesses say that she started, after becoming the target of a viral photo mocking her political preference. New York Daily News reports that 20-year-old Brianna Algazali “fears for her safety,” after the series of events.
The situation all reportedly started when 18-year-old student (and peer of Algazali’s) Clifford Durand posted a photo of the 20-year-old coed during class. He tweeted the photo, drawing attention to her laptop, which sports a sticker in proud and bold support of presidential hopeful Donald Trump. While sharing the photo on Twitter, Durand reportedly declared that he would smash the woman’s laptop if he could get 7,000 retweets.
She’s cute and votes for Trump. R.i.p. the “Only dumb rednecks are voting for trump” stereotype. Oh also, violence is ok…
Posted by Aidas Sungaila on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Brianna Algazali was unaware of the post (and the photo) until it started to go viral — getting approximately 16,000 retweets in just a few hours after being posted. This prompted her to report Durand to the campus public safety office. She didn’t stop there, however, having decided to confront her classmate as well. That’s when things escalated violently.
Witnesses (other students) allege that Algazali demanded that Durand remove the photo of her from his Twitter account, before pouring her Starbucks drink on him. This allegedly angered the 18-year-old man, who, according to eyewitness claims, either struck her or “pushed” her forcefully. He admits to “shoving her in the neck” on Twitter. However, he hasn’t clarified on what he meant by “shoved in the neck.”
— Best & Worst News (@rexmaxington) February 11, 2016
Obviously Clifford Durand aka @ockisdead poses a serious threat to the general public and should be neutralized immediately.
— Cool Arrow (@cuervo_jones) February 11, 2016
.@StJohnsU if you don’t expel clifford durand, you condone violence against white students. I would change colleges.
— reality (@TonySandos) February 11, 2016
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) February 11, 2016
This case has attracted a ton of attention on Twitter and Facebook, with numerous people reacting angrily toward Clifford Durand. A lot of anger is being expressed at the idea that he reacted violently toward a woman. Some of the comments are bordering on blatant racism, and demanding that the young student be expelled from St. John’s University.
#CliffordDurand is a racist thug that will hit women.
— Muskogee life (@Ebola6673) February 11, 2016
Clifford Durand threatened, incited terror & attacked a young female. So No #FREECLIFF until he learns how to behave & speak English proper.
— Moose Has Been Hit (@MooseHasBeenHit) February 10, 2016
Woman beater Clifford Durand’s Facebook account: https://t.co/WzRKxap0XT
Let’s all message him what we think about guys who abuse women
— Charlie Nash (@MrNashington) February 10, 2016
As for the Trump-supporting young woman, she hasn’t responded to requests for comment. However, she did tell New York Daily News that she is afraid for her life, and is waiting for her school to handle the situation. No reports are indicating whether or not Clifford Durand is facing any charges, or if his Trump-supporting classmate will face charges for allegedly pouring her drink on him.
One thing is for certain, however, and that’s that this incident is really taking social media by storm and creating a lot of passionate debate on whether or not racism played a role in it. As of Wednesday afternoon, Clifford Durand’s Twitter account has been suspended.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]