A Bernie Sanders supporter reportedly attacked a black man who was wearing a “Black Guns Matter” T-shirt at the Democratic presidential candidate’s rally on Monday in Colorado.
A video of the two men grappling at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver was released by CBS 4. The alleged attacker, who identified himself to the local news station as Tyler, can be seen body-slamming the man in the T-shirt into a metal folding chair near the stage as Sanders is addressing the crowd.
Friends then intervene, and Tyler gets tackled to the ground, landing on a metal barrier that was knocked over earlier in the brawl.
Why does the guy at the end of the Bernie Sanders rally fight video look like me? It’s not me but ?? pic.twitter.com/0iXupBmLBo
— An0maly (@LegendaryEnergy) February 18, 2020
According to CBS 4, Tyler called into the station and explained that the man he fought was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Black Guns Matter,” a pro-firearms play on the Black Lives Matter movement against violence and systemic racism toward black people.
CBS 4 reported that it obtained another video that appears to show Tyler and the other man arguing about the shirt in the moments before they started fighting.
Tyler also said that the man in the T-shirt was part of a group of people who were booing Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont. When Tyler tried to take a video of the booing on his cellphone, the man shoved him through the barrier, he said. Tyler said it was then that he retaliated, leading to the moment captured by CBS 4.
The other side of the fight at the Bernie rally
The other man also contacted the station and anonymously provided his account of the incident. He said Tyler was the aggressor in the fight.
“He had a problem with the shirt I was wearing,” said the man, who noted that he is black. “I was recording the event, he walks up and calls me a racist. But I thought, ‘What’s he know about black lives, about discrimination, or, for that matter, the representation of the shirt.'”
“Black people and their ability to own firearms has historically been very restricted,” he added. “The shirt I got from a conceal-carry class.”
The man said he agrees with a number of Sanders’ policy proposals, but definitely not his pivot away from supporting gun rights.
Sanders seemed unaware of the altercation, and security officials separated the men but did not remove them from the venue.
“Bernie bros” gone wild
Earlier on Monday, Mike Bloomberg released a new internet advertisement that took aim at “Bernie bros” for their sometimes-belligerent online behavior. The video came in response to Sanders criticizing Bloomberg for allegedly enacting racist policies as the mayor of New York and trying to buy the 2020 Democratic nomination with his multi-billion-dollar fortune.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 17, 2020
Bloomberg has belatedly apologized for his role in promoting “stop and frisk,” a policing tactic that disproportionately targeted black and Latino residents of New York City.
On Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden, another Democratic presidential candidate, also condemned the “vicious” actions of Sanders’ supporters and said the candidate has “some accountability” for them.
Monday night’s brawl came just 24 hours after topless animals rights protesters interrupted Sanders’ campaign rally in Carson City, Nevada, demanding he end his support for the dairy industry.
A number of Twitter commentators suggested Sanders got the protesters he deserved given his left-wing political agenda and his notoriously belligerent supporters.
“Bernie surrounded himself with this and worse,” tweeted journalist Tim Pool. “You reap what you sow.”