A U.S. veteran arrested for throwing coffee on members of the Westboro Baptist Church explained this weekend that he has no regrets over his actions. Although he was arrested for the incident, he says he would do it again.
The New York Daily News reports that Richard Pierce, a 64-year-old veteran who served with the Marines, stated that that the actions of the members of the Westboro Baptist Church during Beau Biden’s funeral were unacceptable. Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son, died last week from brain cancer.
“What I did, I would not suggest anyone else do that. I acted very childish and foolish and if I had to do it over again I would do it again in a minute. I’m a combat Marine. You can’t tell a combat Marine anything.”
Pierce explained that he read about the church members online and how they planned to protest at the funeral. He then went to the funeral by himself to help others stop the Kansas church members, known for protesting celebrity actions and high-profile funerals.
He initially wasn’t planning to do anything harmful to the church members, but when a group of them passed by Pierce, he indicates that he could not control his anger.
“I did not approve of them coming to protest the funeral of Beau Biden. I am not a great Biden fan. I have not voted for either Biden, but he is an honorable individual and I’ve been reading all over the place what a great individual he is. I could not in my right mind let those people come in and distract from the grieving and what everyone else had to say.”
Pierce was joined by around 100 other protesters who planned to stop the Westboro Baptist Church members from causing havoc at the funeral. They stood outside East Point’s, New York, St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, where friends and family gathered to mourn the death of 46-year-old Beau Biden.
As Pierce watched authorities escort church members away, he noticed that one member had the American flag wrapped around both of her knees. This angered Pierce greatly, resulting in him snapping and throwing his coffee.
“When I saw that I snapped, I guess, mentally. I went to Vietnam to give them the right to demonstrate. The First Amendment gives them to right to demonstrate. I understand that. Just because I don’t like what they’re doing, I know I should not have done what I did. I guess I had to demonstrate my displeasure.”
One church member was hit in the side, and another woman was splashed by the hot coffee. A third protester standing by the women didn’t get hit. Pierce indicated that he would never hit a woman, and that throwing coffee is as far as he would ever go.
His actions, however, landed him in jail. He was arrested shortly after throwing his coffee. The woman hit in the side with the coffee told the police that she didn’t plan to press charges. Pierce was bailed out shortly after.
Although the Westboro Baptist Church did their best to protest the funeral, it didn’t stop thousands of mourners from attending. Beau Biden, an officer in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and an attorney, battled with brain cancer for two years.