A support rally was held after police say an 82-year-old Air Force veteran holding a Donald Trump sign was pushed to the ground and kicked in the ribs and legs by a man who had ripped the sign from his hands.
Dozens of supporters came out Saturday afternoon in Fall River, Mass., holding Trump signs and others that demonstrated their support of Charlie Chase, the Air Force veteran who was allegedly attacked, according to The Herald News, a local newspaper. One sign read, “Disgraceful to Attack Seniors!”
Steve Thomas, a community member, said he went to the rally in support of Chase.
"I've seen Charlie many times over the last six to nine months either standing with an American flag or a Trump sign gently waving to people as the drive by, honking their horns and he always has smile on his face and I'm here to support him," Thomas said.
A local dentist echoed Thomas’ support.
"We're here for Charlie Chase, who needs to know we will be with him and nobody should fear holding a sign for whomever it is. Nobody should be in fear to be beaten up simply for holding a sign. God bless you, Charlie," he said.
Aidan Courtright, 27, of Fall River, is charged with committing a civil rights violation with injury; assault and battery on a person over 60 years old; vandalizing property; and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, police said.
Pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf during an arraignment on Wednesday.
Police responded to reports of the assault at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fall River police Lt. Daniel Dube said.
The suspect pulled up in his car, grabbed and destroyed the sign and pushed the victim to the ground, then kicked him, Dube said. The victim was taken to the hospital with bruising on his lower back, police said.
Courtright’s attorney, Marc Roberts, asked for a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Thursday to be delayed in order to gather “character and other information to present to the court.”
This story contains information from the Associated Press and The Herald News.