COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An anti-Trump protester who was tackled at an Ohio State University rally Monday night says he’s seeking to have charges dropped against the assailant because he says the attack wasn’t politically motivated.
The incident captured on video quickly went viral amid reports of violence in the wake of the election of Donald Trump. In it, the victim, identified by the OSU student newspaper the Lantern as Tim Adams, is seen standing on stairs as he speaks into a bullhorn addressing a crowd of about 150 inside the student union. That’s when an assailant who campus police identify as student Shane Stanton, 24, is seen running down the steps behind Adams and tackling him, shoving him down four to five steps.
Stanton was then shoved by several people in the crowd before he was arrested by campus police and led away. CBS affiliate WBNS reports he appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to an assault charge. The victim’s hand was reportedly injured in the incident.
According to the Lantern, Adams posted a public message on Facebook that read he previously thought the assault was politically motivated, but has now learned it “was not committed by a Trump supporter.”
Adams is reportedly a lead organizer with International Socialist Organization-Columbus, which organized Monday’s rally. In a statement released to the Lantern, the group said most witnesses “reasonably assumed the assailant was a Trump supporter” and Adams initially 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.”
“Since last night, however, we have learned that the man, an OSU student, is not a right-wing activist and was himself upset by the Trump election,” the statement read. “We have received further information we will not disclose to protect the man’s privacy, but which has made us confident he should not face charges for the action.”
The statement said Adams and other members of the group were in the process of reaching out to police and prosecutors.
A possible motive for the attack remains unclear. An Ohio State University spokesman didn’t have any more information and couldn’t say whether Adam’s desire to have charges dropped would affect the criminal case against Stanton.
The school said in a statement it’s investigating the incident “thoroughly” and is thankful the speaker was not seriously injured.
“The incident at a political demonstration on our campus yesterday is disturbing,” the statement read. “As we said last week, the safety of our students and freedom of speech are bedrock, immutable principles that are the foundation of our university.”
Stanton reportedly posted a $2,500 bail.