A Montana man allegedly fractured a teen boy’s skull because the 13-year-old was “disrespecting the flag” during the playing of the national anthem at the Mineral County Fairgrounds this weekend.
Witnesses told police that Curt Brockway picked the boy up and slammed him to the ground, CBS affiliate KPAX reported. They also said Brockway tried to justify his actions by saying the boy didn’t remove his hat during the national anthem.
Brockway has since been arrested and appeared in court on Monday.
The teen was flown to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane and treated for temporal skull fractures.
Megan Keeler told MTN News that the attack on her son came out of nowhere.
“He’s deathly afraid of strangers. He doesn’t remember anything. All the witnesses I have talked to said this was completely random,” Keeler said.
“There was no exchange – nothing! He targeted Wally and took him down,” she added.
According to Keeler, her son was bleeding from his ears for nearly six hours following the incident.
Documents obtained by MTN News revealed Brockway pleaded guilty in 2010 to an assault with a weapon charge for pulling a gun on a family and threatening to kill them. He left after eventually being talked down by a friend.
Brockway received a 10-year-sentence for the incident. The sentence was completely suspended, according to KPAX.
Curt Brockway and the cultural battle over the national anthem
In recent years, protests by several high-profile sports figures have thrust a debate regarding deference to the American flag and national anthem into the mainstream consciousness.
Many conservatives have taken issue with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest injustice against minorities.
Since Kaepernick first sat down during the anthem in August 2016, other athletes have followed suit.