While hundreds protested Donald Trump Jr. and senior campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle’s speech Thursday, a confrontation between two men led to a UF graduate assistant’s arrest.
Richard Tate, 36, was arrested after grabbing a man’s “Make America Great Again” hat at the protest outside of Trump Jr.’s speech at UF. The man wearing the hat, Brian Patrick Smith, was holding a poster that read, “ISLAM IS RIGHT ABOUT WOMEN.”
Smith got his hat back by tackling Tate. The confrontation appears to be the only physically violent incident at the protest.
Tate was charged with robbery by sudden snatching after Smith pressed charges, according to court records. Tate was released from jail on his own recognizance Friday afternoon.
Trump supporters such as Smith were also outside the University Auditorium.
Smith was standing outside the auditorium holding the poster above his head while walking through a crowd of people. When behind Smith, Tate grabbed Smith’s cap and started running away. Smith followed Tate and tackled him to the ground.
Tate declined to comment until he spoke with his attorney when The Alligator contacted him.
Smith spoke to The Alligator on Thursday when he returned after police escorted him away from the area.
“I pressed charges on somebody who attacked me for holding a sign, for simply holding a sign because he doesn’t like it,” Smith said. He later said he “ragdolled [Tate] to the ground.”
The protest was organized the same day ACCENT Speakers Bureau Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle’s speech was announced. Outside the University Auditorium, more than 300 people held signs and chanted against the speakers and the $50,000 of student fees used to pay them.
University Police provided security inside and outside the event.
Isabella Garcia, a 21-year-old UF political science and telecommunication junior, filmed the fight and posted it on Facebook. She said Smith was verbally provoking students. Law enforcement told her they couldn’t do anything unless he harmed someone.
Garcia’s video shows Smith cursing and yelling at student protesters when he returned.
“I feel safety wasn’t provided for students,” Garcia said. “Maybe for one side of the students who were going to the speech, but the students protesting outside didn’t get enough security.”