Police arrested Shane Michael Stanton, 24, on Monday night after video showed him violently shoving Adams from behind as he was addressing a crowd of anti-Trump demonstrators in the university’s student union building. He was charged with misdemeanor assault.
Stanton’s father, John Stanton, told the Columbus Dispatch that his son had Asperger Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism often marked by difficulty with social interactions.
A friend of Stanton’s also came to his defense in a widely circulated Facebook post. Drew Riedel described Stanton as a “loyal, kind and an incredibly fierce friend” who advocated for gay rights and other causes in what he called the “developmental disabilities” community. He said Stanton was a Hillary Clinton supporter.
“Instead of this being the work of some violent crazy person, instead this is a really, really sad and unfortunate turn of events,” Riedel said. “I guarantee, no one will have deeper remorse and regret than he will over letting his emotions get the best of him and for what physical damage could have been inflicted upon the victim. So before you assume anything about his character, please refrain.”
The International Socialist Organization, of which Adams is a member, helped organize the protest. The group said in a statement that it had received information that “made us confident” Stanton should not face charges.
“Initially, with the information available, Tim felt it was important that white nationalists not be further emboldened by this action and decided to pursue criminal charges in the hopes that it might play some role in protecting movement activists from similar or potentially worse harm in the future,” the statement read. “Tim and other ISO members are in the process of reaching out to police, prosecutors, and this student’s family and friends to have charges dropped immediately and to ensure his quick release from jail.”
An Ohio State University student was arrested Monday night after video showed him violently shoving a protester down a flight of stairs during a rally on campus against the election of Donald Trump.
Shane Michael Stanton was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault and placed on indefinite suspension from the university, according to court records and reports from the Lantern, the student newspaper.
Video posted by the Lantern and provided to The Washington Post shows a protester, identified as Timothy Adams, standing about halfway up a flight of stairs and addressing a crowd of protesters through a bullhorn in the university’s student union. A man in a striped sweater and hat — identified as Stanton — charges down the stairs toward Adams and yells, “You idiot,” before tackling Adams from behind.
The video shows Adams falling several feet onto the floor below. Instantly, a number of protesters surround the attacker, and some of them appear to strike him. Four police officers arrive moments later and carry the man out of the building. As they leave, the crowd of protesters can be heard chanting, “Shame, shame.”
Adams landed face-first on the tile floor, injuring his left hand and shattering his glasses and bullhorn in the fall, the Columbus Dispatch and the Lantern reported.
“Can I finish my speech now?” Adams reportedly said after the scene calmed down, drawing laughs from the crowd.
He told the student paper in an interview later: “I think, if anything, tonight shows that we really need to bring people into social movements, bring people into social organizations and to come out for each other and stand up for each other. Ultimately, coming together is the only thing that’s going to stop any kind of violence.”
Nationwide anti-Trump protests have entered a second week on Tuesday, with thousands of people in cities around the country taking to the streets to voice opposition to the president-elect. At least one demonstration in Portland, Ore., turned violent, but gatherings there were peaceful on Sunday night, The Washington Post reported.
The incident at Ohio State occurred just before 6 p.m., as about 100 people gathered in the Ohio Union, one of the main student and faculty hubs on campus. Up until that point, the campus had hosted a number of peaceful protests, the Lantern reported. Monday’s demonstration began with just a couple dozen people, then grew to more than 100, with some people joining the demonstration from outside the university. The protest was organized by the Socialist Alternative, a national activist group, and Adams was one of the leaders, according to the Lantern. CNN reported that he was a former student who graduated in 2014.
Stanton is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning, court records show. Attorney information for him was not immediately available.
Over the weekend, University President Michael Drake sent out an email telling students and faculty to remain civil in the wake of the election, as the Lantern reported.
“We protect First Amendment rights actively,” Drake said, “but we do not under any circumstances tolerate intimidation or threats to students, faculty, staff or visitors to our campus.”
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