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Man in MAGA hat arrested after allegedly using bear spray in scuffle when anti-Trump protesters surrounded smaller pro-Trump group


Saturday's incident took place on the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California

Image source: KTLA-TV video screenshot

A man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat — the iconic symbol of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign — was arrested and remained in jail without bail after allegedly using bear spray in a Saturday scuffle between anti-Trump protesters and Trump supporters on the Santa Monica pier in Southern California.

Image source: KTLA-TV video screenshot

What happened?

A crowd of what appeared to be anti-Trump protesters were chanting by the beach before moving to the pier and surrounding a small group of Trump supporters, after which those in the crowd were seen pushing each other when a scuffle broke out, KTLA-TV reported.

The man wearing the MAGA hat was seen in a video arguing with anti-Trump protesters when he began spraying the crowd with a large canister of pepper spray used to prevent bear attacks, KTLA-TV reported in a follow-up story. He was also seen spraying the face of man who was being held on the ground, the station said.

What do we know about the suspect?

David Nicholas Dempsey, 32, was booked on suspicion of prohibited use of a tear gas weapon, assault with a caustic chemical, and violating parole stemming from a prior weapons violation conviction, police told KTLA.

Dempsey, described as an Orange County resident, was pointed out as the individual who used the bear spray and was taken into custody at the scene, the station added.

David Nicholas DempseyImage source: Santa Monica police

As a convicted felon, Dempsey is barred from possessing pepper spray or other tear gas weapons, police told KTLA.

In Los Angeles County, Dempsey was convicted of burglary in 2006 and 2009, and he was convicted of larceny and conspiracy in 2012, the station reported, citing court records.

Dempsey is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court for an arraignment Tuesday, KTLA added.

Investigators were checking into the possibility that another person also sprayed irritant during the incident, the station noted, citing the Associated Press.

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