A Florida man will spend the first part of 2020 in jail after a judge sentenced him to 90 days for spitting on a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat — a commonly worn item of apparel by supporters of President Donald Trump.
According to Treasure Coast Newspapers, Judge David Morgan handed down the sentence, which included one year of supervised probation, to 43-year-old Matthias Ajple, a resident of Vero Beach, Florida who pleaded no-contest to the charges he faced for the incident.
Video footage of the attack from November shows Ajple place what appears to be a paper towel on the brim of 67-year-old Robert Youngblood’s “Make America Great Again” hat while he was dining with friends at the Hurricane Grill & Wings restaurant in Vero Beach.
Moments later, Ajple spit on Youngblood as he walked out of the restaurant. An arrest affidavit revealed that Ajple reportedly had a message for Youngblood as he spit on him.
“You should go back to Russia you… communist,” Ajple reportedly said as he approached Youngblood from behind a fence that separates the restaurant from the sidewalk, before getting into a vehicle driving off.
Presumably unbeknownst to Ajeple, Youngblood managed to get the license plate number and description of his attacker’s vehicle, which later led police to Ajeple’s residence where he was arrested for battery.
Ajeple’s wife told the responding officers that she was the one who told her husband to approach Youngblood and deliver the message about going back to Russia.
As officers spoke with Ajeple, he apparently wasn’t concerned about being arrested and didn’t express any remorse for his aggressive action toward Youngblood, even calling the entire debacle “exciting.”
“I was just trying to protect you guys because I support law enforcement. Trump supporters are communist and racist,” Ajple told the police officer.
“I don’t even care that I’m going to jail; this is actually exciting.”
“Plus, I have more time on this earth than he does anyway; he probably feels so good about himself,” Ajeple added, taking a jab at Youngblood’s age.
Not only will Ajeple spend the next three months in the local county jail, but the judge also ordered him to stay away from Youngblood and to pay him $155 in restitution on top of the court costs.
According to Newsweek, there have been a number of attacks or situations involving people wearing “Make America Great Again” hats or related pro-Trump garb, including another Florida incident earlier in 2019 which involved an aide on a school bus ripping a MAGA hat off the head of a 14-year-old student.