It’s been a political season full of unpredictable behavior and even threats across the country, and Florida Republican politician Keith Perry has reportedly taken the rhetoric to the next level. In an unbelievable incident that took place in Gainesville on September 10, the Florida Republican can is caught on tape apparently slapping a resident in the throat after that man, 46-year-old Norman Leppla, removed one of Keith Perry’s campaign signs from his own property.
As the Daily Mail reports, the incident between Florida Republican politician Keith Perry and the homeowner occurred at roughly 6:30 p.m., and it followed Leppla refusing to re-erect the campaign sign on his own property’s gate.
According to Norman Leppla, he had taken down the large Keith Perry campaign sign because displaying it on his property had resulted in people vandalizing his house. In the video below, you can see the Florida Republican politician’s violent altercation with the homeowner over the sign.
After Leppla removed the campaign sign, Keith Perry (who is running for re-election for the Florida state senate) reportedly showed up at his house and asked the homeowner to put the sign back up. Norman Leppla said he initially agreed to re-affix the Keith Perry sign. However, he said that he ultimately opted not to because he felt as though the Florida Republican politician had been rude and inconsiderate to him.
The video above is just a small clip of the entire recording of the violent interaction between Keith Perry and the homeowner. According to Leppla, he had stored the campaign sign on his porch after he removed it to stop the vandalism he was enduring. He said that after the Florida Republican politician showed up to request that he put the sign back on his gate, he actually walked with Perry to the gate to do just that. During their conversation, however, Keith Perry was allegedly “rude” to him, so Leppla changed his mind and put the campaign sign back on his porch.
That’s when things got heated between the men, and they can be seen arguing as an unidentified female tries to pull Florida Republican politician Keith Perry off of the homeowner’s porch. The video has no audio, but at one point Perry walks away and it appears that the heated exchange could be ending. However, he then approached the homeowner again and ultimately slapped Norman Leppla in the throat, causing him to stumble.
After the clear physical assault, Leppla can be seen (but not heard) openly laughing at Florida Republican politician Keith Perry and pointing to his surveillance cameras, which clearly caught the entire attack on film.
The footage of the physical assault perpetrated by Keith Perry against the homeowner has gone viral; it has also been turned over to local police as evidence that a physical attack took place. It has been reported that as a result of having seen the unambiguous video recording, a recording that clearly shows Florida Republican politician Keith Perry slapping a potential voter, the Gainesville Police Department has recommended criminal charges be filed against Perry.
On Wednesday, the Gainesville Police Department released a statement recommending that the Florida politician be charged with criminal trespass and simple battery for his attack on the homeowner.
“In an effort to be as transparent as possible in an incident involving a politician, we have chosen to release additional records.”
As the Gainesville Sun reports, neither Florida Republican politician Keith Perry nor his campaign was willing to speak publicly about the off-putting incident for days. However, on Wednesday afternoon, he sent an email to the local publication apologizing for the incident.
“Anyone who knows me, knows that it takes quite a bit to rile me up. What began as a silly disagreement over a legal campaign yard sign — that was authorized by the owner to be placed in his yard — escalated, and for my part in that, I apologize.”
The Florida Republican also claimed that the homeowner had spit on him before the physical assault caught on tape, as well as made “threatening” comments to his wife, apparently the woman who appeared in the video.
Florida Republican politician Keith Perry also claims that he will not face criminal charges in the incident, saying that he believes that the incident has been resolved at the request of the assaulted homeowner.
Despite the video not showing any evidence that Mr. Leppla actually spit on Keith Perry, the Florida Republican politician claims that he could have filed a criminal complaint against the homeowner over the incident, but that he chose not to.
“It is my understanding that Mr. Leppla attempted on multiple occasions to dismiss his complaint with calls to GPD and the officer handling the case. Unfortunately, the officer was off duty until later Monday afternoon, and by 4 p.m. when he called back, the case had already been moved to the State’s Attorney office — a procedural development that prevented Mr. Leppla from withdrawing his complaint.
“While I have the opportunity to bring charges against Mr. Leppla, I have no intentions of escalating this any further. For anybody offended by my actions I humbly apologize.”
What do you think? Should criminal charges be filed in this incident? Is Perry’s apology enough, or too little too late? How do you think this case, which involves Florida Republican politician Keith Perry physically battering a homeowner, should be handled?
[Featured Image by Phil Sears/AP Photo]