Montana man Curt Brockway believed he was acting on the orders of Donald Trump when he allegedly attacked a teenage boy because the boy had not removed his hat during the playing of the national anthem, a lawyer for the accused man said.
Brockway was arrested for the attack that took place at the Mineral County fairgrounds in Missoula, with police saying he grabbed the 13-year-old boy and threw him to the ground, CBS News reported.
The incident took place before the start of a county rodeo, with Brockway reportedly telling police that he instructed the boy to remove his hat during the national anthem. When the boy cursed at Brockway, the 39-year-old man grabbed the boy by the throat, lifted him into the air, and slammed him to the ground, court documents claimed.
Brockway’s attorney is now saying that the U.S. Army veteran had his decision-making impacted from a traumatic brain injury and that the man believed he was carrying out an order from Donald Trump to punish people who failed to show the proper respect during the anthem.
“His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished,” attorney Lance Jasper told The Missoulian. “He certainly didn’t understand it was a crime.”
Donald Trump has frequently and loudly criticized people who have protested during the national anthem, taking aim at NFL players who took a knee as a protest against police brutality toward minorities. Trump has called for the players to be fired and claimed that their protest was meant as a show of disrespect against the flag and the U.S. military.
The guy who assaulted a child for “disrespecting” the national anthem said he thought Trump wanted him to do it https://t.co/b2GsYJFhd4— Adam Serwer???? (@AdamSerwer) August 8, 2019
Trump has drawn criticism for the remarks, with many pointing out that the NFL players are taking a stand against police brutality and are not, in fact, making any kind of comment or protest against the U.S. military and its service members. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first sparked the protest by sitting down during the anthem, later changed his protest to take a knee after a discussion with a military veteran and former NFL player who said that kneeling is a sign of respect.
In Montana, Curt Brockway faces a charge of felony assault against a minor. As CBS News reported, Brockway is a registered violent offender after being convicted of a charge of assault with a weapon in 2000.