An anti-Trump protester who was tackled while delivering a speech at Ohio State University has said he does not believe the attack was politically motivated and is seeking to have charges dropped.
A video by campus publication the Lantern shows a man later identified as Timothy Adams speaking at the Union, OSU’s student activities center.
Adams can be seen standing on a set of stairs in the video saying into a megaphone, “We don’t have to compromise,” when another man, later identified by police as 24-year-old Shane Michael Stanton, runs up behind him and tackles him to the ground.
The video captures Stanton clearly shouting “You idiot” just before leaping at Adams, 25.
On Tuesday, Adams' group, the Columbus chapter of the International Socialist Organization, said he is seeking to have the charges dropped since learning that Stanton was not a Trump supporter and not politically motivated. A friend of Stanton's wrote on Facebook that he was a Hillary Clinton supporter, and his actions may have been related to a disability. His mother told the Lantern he has Asperger syndrome.
The Lantern reported that Stanton had been arrested after the incident and issued an indefinite suspension from OSU. BuzzFeed News has reached out to the university administration for more information.
Protest organizers later wrote on Facebook they had mistaken Stanton for a heckler and his actions as criminal.
"Initially, with the information available, Tim felt it was important that white nationalists not be further emboldened by this action and 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," protest organizers said.
"Tim and other ISO members are in the process of reaching out to police, prosecutors, and this student’s family and friends to have charges dropped immediately and to ensure his quick release from jail."
The impact of the hit reportedly broke Adams’ glasses and his megaphone.
The incident had been under investigation by university officials.
“We witnessed a disturbing incident at a political demonstration on our campus this afternoon,” OSU spokesperson Chris Davey said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News immediately after the incident.
“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. Ohio State is investigating this incident thoroughly. We are thankful that the speaker appears to not have been seriously injured,” Davey added.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.
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Claudia Koerner is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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