A disturbing video from a Donald Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday shows several white men pushing a young African-American woman through a crowd, yelling at her as she was leaving. While viewers can't hear the audio to determine if threats were being made, which would legally constitute assault, the physical manhandling may meet the legal definition of battery. Note the video below shows members of the crowd, not security, physically shoving the lone woman, reported to be in her teens.
According to the legal section of the Free Dictionary, three elements must be present to constitute battery: an act must be committed by a defendant, there must be an intent to "cause harmful or offensive" contact, and that harmful and offensive contact must be committed against another person.
"The act must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim—such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound—could constitute battery, but actual injury is not required. Even though there is no apparent bruise following harmful contact, the defendant can still be guilty of battery; occurrence of a physical illness subsequent to the contact may also be actionable. The second type of contact that may constitute battery causes no actual physical harm but is, instead, offensive or insulting to the victim."
WLKY did not identify the woman in the video from the Trump rally, but said that they had spoken with her on the phone after the incident.
"She said she is doing well. She is just trying to process everything."
Another woman at the Louisville Donald Trump rally, Shiya Nwanguma, went on the record about her treatment at the hands of Trump supporters and said in a video posted on Facebook she was also shoved by the crowd, as well as being called "n****r" and "c**t" as she was escorted out by police.
The New York Daily News reports that one of the Trump supporters seen shoving the woman appears to be Matthew Heimbach, who is a leader of a group called the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist group. Heimbach was also the leader of the Youth for Western Civilization at Towson University before turning it into the controversial White Student Union in 2012. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, his political rhetoric caused his ban from entering the UK under their "Unacceptable Behavior Policy."
"Using Heimbach's own words as evidence, the letter [banning Heimlich] highlights his reference to homosexuality as a 'deviant lifestyle' and multiple anti-Semitic declarations that the 'enemy is the international Jew…. Because they want to destroy us all.'"
Molly Shah, a demonstrator at the Donald Trump rally, confirmed to the New York Daily News that Heimbach was present, and actively recruiting for his group before the incident.
"I watched him for hours recruit Trump supporters with five of his buddies. They later attacked the group I was with. The Neo-Nazis threw punches and kicked us. I am still awake now because my body is sore."
The New York Daily News also reported on what might have led to the incident, believing the crowd felt it was acting at the request of Trump himself.
"[T]he crowd was taking their cues from Trump — who repeatedly barked, 'Get them out of here' without giving anyone in particular a clue as to who he expected to do such a thing. So flippant in his directive, it appears that attendees simply began taking it upon themselves to manhandle protesters and force them out of the rally."
Henry Brousseau told the publication he had been "punched by fascists" wearing Traditionalist Worker Party shirts, and Chanelle Helm added that the protesters were cursed, demeaned, and spat on by Trump supporters, who began a disturbing chant directed at them.
"You're scum, you're time will come. You're scum, you're time will come."
[Photo by Timothy D. Easley/AP]