In the midst of a terribly contentious Election Day, a Trump supporter reportedly took the tension to the next level when she pepper-sprayed a Clinton voter at a Florida polling location. According to onlookers and the pair of opposing citizens involved in the scuffle, things got heated not long after 52-year-old Tom Garrecht, a Clinton voter, showed up to cast his ballot.
The Trump supporter, 58-year-old Donna Tatlici, was at the Juniper, Florida, polling site, located at the city’s Community Center, handing out pro-Trump literature when the Clinton voter arrived to get his vote on. As Fox 13 Now reports, the Trump supporter who pepper-sprayed him got an earful from Clinton voter Garrecht, who clearly wasn’t happy about dealing with the “Trump train” as he cast his vote. He reportedly told the Trump supporter that he didn’t need voting advice from her.
“I don’t need anyone to tell me who to vote for!”
The Trump supporter says she responded by telling him that she wasn’t trying to tell him who to vote for.
“I’m not here to do that. I’m just here to give you the information.”
Things should have simply ended there. Garrecht entered the Community Center to vote for Clinton. Trump supporter Tatlici stayed outside handing out her pro-Trump literature. It could have been a case of two angry and disgruntled ships passing in the night. But it wasn’t to be.
According to eyewitness accounts, the Trump supporter was ready to pick things back up after the irate Clinton voter left the polling station. When Garrecht exited, Trump supporter Tatlici continued egging him on. She reportedly continued taunting him, pointing him out to others at the Florida location.
“That’s a little man. Yeah. That’s a little man.”
That was when things between the Trump supporter and Clinton voter reportedly escalated to the point that he was pepper-sprayed. According to Donna Tatlici, after her post-vote instigation of Garrecht, he approached her and got angrily in her face, yelling.
“[He] came right into my face [shouting expletives].”
The Trump supporter says that she told Tom Garrecht to back off, warning him that he would be pepper-sprayed if he didn’t get out of her personal space. He refused to back off, so the Trump supporter grabbed her keychain pepper-spray and pepper-sprayed the Clinton-voting Garrecht right in his face.
And that’s still not the end of the story.
After being pepper-sprayed by the Trump supporter, Tom Garrecht allegedly fought back. He reportedly jumped on Donna Tatlici, knocking her to the ground. The participants in and witnesses to the polling place altercation have reportedly given conflicting accounts of what went down during the physical fight, but most agree that Garrecht punched the Trump supporter, at least once.
As the New York Post reports, the Trump supporter who pepper-sprayed him was in something of a state of shock following the incident.
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe someone would actually hit me. I was really upset.”
real men don't hit women, even if she did pepper spray him first. Revoke man card! https://t.co/MFG75qlzC4— Christopher Tracy (@CTracyIII) November 8, 2016
The Juniper Police Department was ultimately called to the scene of the Election Day scuffle, and according to Sergeant Bradley Vince, Garrecht faces potential assault and battery charges after allegedly hitting the Trump supporter. However, he was not arrested.
“Independent witnesses along with the victim and suspect gave conflicting stories in reference to the physical portion of the altercation.”
@KTLA and trump supporters are angels ?? Enticing violence.( He even said someone should kill hillary).— BertJager (@JagerBert) November 8, 2016
According to Tom Garrecht, who had just shown up at the Juniper Community Center to vote for his candidate of choice, Hillary Clinton, he admittedly overreacted to the situation. He told the media that he shouldn’t have gotten so verbally heated with the Trump supporter who ultimately pepper-sprayed him. However, he claims that he wasn’t trying to hit her. He said that he was blinded by the pepper-spray and was simply trying to knock it from her hands.
The Clinton voter went on to say that the reason he got so irate in the first place was that he felt as though the Trump supporters at the polling site were engaged in voter intimidation.
Garrecht is also confused as to why he’s facing potential assault charges, as he believes that the Trump supporter was the aggressor in the situation.
“They said they’re probably going to charge me with assault, which is absurd, since she sprayed me first.”
Here's the woman, who said she's pressing charges. She said she's "so embarrassed" by what happened. pic.twitter.com/pDK4HMH9qe— Lawrence Mower (@lmower3) November 8, 2016
Trump supporter Donna Tatlici reportedly suffered some scrapes and a “broken watch” in the heated altercation that turned physical.
According to officials, the Trump supporters at the polling site (including Tatlici) were not breaking the law by handing out their Trump propaganda at the location. This is because they were more than 100 feet away from the polling station, which is all state voting regulations required.
Whether or not Tom Garrecht will be formally charged for his part in the altercation will be determined by the Florida state attorney’s office. Trump supporter Tatlici is not expected to be charged for the fact that she pepper-sprayed him.
[Featured Image by Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock]