A California man in a MAGA hat has been arrested after being caught on camera allegedly spraying anti-Trump protesters with bear spray on Saturday.
Santa Monica Police booked Orange County resident David Nicholas Dempsey, 32, on suspicion of prohibited use of a tear gas weapon, assault with a caustic chemical and violating parole, KTLA reported.
Dempsey, who is also charged with violating his parole stemming from a prior weapons violation conviction, is seen in a video posted to social media verbally sparring with protesters opposed to President Donald Trump.
Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters clashed over the weekend on the Santa Monica pier. In the footage, the two groups’ verbal jousting became physical and a small scuffle occurred.
As the groups come together, Dempsey is seen spraying the crowd with a canister of pepper spray intended to repel bear attacks. At one point, the footage shows him spraying a man who is lying on the ground directly in the face.
Police took Dempsey into custody at the scene, KTLA reported.
Dempsey, who according to court records has been convicted of burglary and larceny, is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
In a video of the incident posted to YouTube, Dempsey told arresting officers he was attacked and apparently referred to protesters as “f—ing libtards” and “commies.”
“I didn’t do anything,” Dempsey is heard saying to police in the footage.
None of the protesters were seriously injured, Rolling Stone reported.
Some have pointed to the incident to suggest violence and support for Trump go hand in hand.
“A single incident in California cannot be laid at the feet of the president, but it is concerning that the man in the White House does more to stoke anger and fear within his most unstable supporters than he does to calm them,” wrote Rolling Stone’s Peter Wade in reference to the incident.
But neither Trump supporters nor anti-Trump critics have a monopoly on violence toward their ideological opponents.
Just this month, supporters of the president attending a rally in downtown Minneapolis found themselves on the receiving end of attacks from protesters.
Trump supporters were physically assaulted and harassed as they made their way through the crowds, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
- Video footage of man in MAGA hat spraying anti-Trump protesters.: Screen grab