“He could have been killed.”
Furious supporters of Barack Obama attacked a man who allegedly smashed the display windows of a New York lingerie shop to topple a mannequin styled to look like the former president.
The man, identified as 41-year-old Rewell Altunaga, was caught on a surveillance camera last Saturday lurking outside Romantic Depot in Harlem. According to New York Daily News, the store was showcasing the Obama mannequin dressed as a prince next to a President Donald Trump mannequin dressed as a princess and wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.
In the footage, the man can be seen passing the store and kicking the window in apparent disgust. Then, he grabs a large object and hurls it through the store’s window before seizing the Obama mannequin and hurling it to the street.
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Stunned at first, the shop workers said they chased down the fleeing vandal only to find that he was already being assaulted by angry Obama fans ready to claim vengeance.
“[Altunaga] was surrounded. We put our loss prevention people out and surrounded him. He could have been killed. We had women trying to kick him in the head. We had to protect him because he had damaged the Obama image,” Romantic Depot owner Glenn Buzzetti told the Daily News, adding that neighbors are on high alert for crime. “The local businesses are part of the family. If you just yell, they come running.”
Buzzetti averred that that Altunaga “definitely was a Trump supporter who was very angry with Obama’s policies, and he kept on repeating it after he was caught that he hated Obama and Obama ruined the country.”
“He said he hated Obama, and that the mannequin was looking at him bad. He said, ‘That doll was giving me bad looks. I’m tired of him. Obama brought the country down.’ He said he walks by the store every day and sees Obama every day and it made him really angry,” he said.
Buzzetti assessed the damages to his store at $1,000, though a New York Police Department spokesperson put them at only $250. Altunaga was arrested and faced charges of criminal mischief. None of the Obama supporters were apparently charged with crimes.
The incident was a real-life parody of the polarization of even quotidian elements of American life. Until recently, street fights over the toppling and effacing of a leaders’ effigy could have been safely dismissed as the purview of authoritarian countries.
However, this particular conflict did have the distinctly American twist of being centered on a sex shop.
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