Trump Ordered It, Says Man Who Attacked Boy During National Anthem

The man accused of slamming a teenager to the ground for not removing his hat during the national anthem believed he was acting on the orders of President Donald Trump, his attorney claims.

“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,” lawyer Lance Jasper told The Missoulian. “He certainly didn’t understand it was a crime.”

Officials say Curt Brockway, 39, “grabbed Wally Crosby by his throat, picked him up and threw him to the ground” after Crosby, 13, refused to take off his hat during the national anthem at a rodeo in Superior, Montana, earlier in August, BuzzFeed reported. Brockway has since been released on his own recognizance following arraignment on a felony charge of assaulting a minor.

Following the attack, Crosby was airlifted to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington, where he was treated for skull fractures and a concussion.

“He’s deathly afraid of strangers. He doesn’t remember anything. All the witnesses I have talked to said this was completely random,” Crosby’s mother, Megan Keeler, told MTN News. “There was no exchange — nothing! He targeted Wally and took him down.”

This isn’t the first time Trump’s words have been linked to acts of violence.

Most recently, his racist comments about immigrants drew parallels to the manifesto of alleged mass shooter Patrick Wood Crusius, who wrote that his actions — which killed 22 people and injured dozens more at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on the same day Brockway attacked Crosby — were a response to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” The New York Times reported.

“Trump never necessarily says, ‘Go hurt somebody,’ but the message is absolutely clear,” Jasper told The Missoulian. “I am certain of the fact that [Brockway] was doing what he believed he was told to do, essentially, by the president.”

Twitter users lamented Brockway’s release, despite prosecutors’ requests that he be held on $100,000 bail.

Jasper also claimed a brain injury Brockway suffered in 2000, when a car crash damaged his frontal lobe — the part of the brain responsible for judgment and decision-making — was partly to blame for his client’s actions.

“Obviously it’s a tragedy whenever someone is injured, especially a young kid, but with my client being a veteran with a traumatic brain injury, it is absolutely fair to say he got caught up in a heightened animosity and a heightened rhetoric that too many people are engaged in,” Jasper said.

“Everyone should learn to dial it down a little bit,” he added, “from the president to Mineral County.”