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Man assaults young boy for wearing hat during national anthem: ‘Grabbed this little boy by the neck and slammed him to the ground.’

Not his first time at the rodeo

Photo by David S. Holloway/Getty Images

A 13-year-old boy sustained serious injuries after a 39-year-old man reportedly attacked him on Saturday at a Montana rodeo.

What are the details?

The suspect, Curt James Brockway, reportedly grabbed ahold of a 13-year-old boy who hadn't taken his hat off for the playing of the national anthem, slamming him to the ground.

According to Mineral County Attorney Ellen Donohue, Brockway reportedly asked the teen to take off his hat to honor the "Star-Spangled Banner." The teen reportedly swore at Brockway, who then allegedly hauled off and hit the child.

The child's injuries required him to be airlifted to a hospital in a different state. The Missoulian reported that the child sustained a fracture to his skull. KPAX-TV reported that the boy has returned home after being released from the hospital, but did not offer any update on his condition.

Taylor Hennick, a witness to the incident, painted a dire picture of the young man's condition after the attack.

"He was definitely bleeding out of his ears; he was scared," Hennick said. "He seemed shocked and out of it and wondering why he was being hit."

Hennick said many people witnessed the incident.

"I looked over because I heard a 'pop' and this man had grabbed this little boy by the neck and slammed him to the ground," Hennick said. "I saw it from the corner of my eye."

Hennick said that Brockway immediately defended his actions, insisting that the boy was disrespecting the national anthem.

"People were shocked," Hennick recalled.

Authorities arrested Brockway on suspicion of felony assault on a minor following the incident. The suspect is reportedly on a list of violent offenders, which stemmed from a 2011 conviction for assault with a weapon.

Brockway was released on Tuesday.

Donohue said the suspect — who has "life-long ties to the community" — is not a flight risk.

What else?

Brockway's attorney told The Missoulian that his client believed he was acting on the orders of President Donald Trump.

Attorney Lance Jasper said that his client — a U.S. veteran who reportedly previously sustained a traumatic brain injury of his own — was led to believe that his actions were appropriate for the situation.

"His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished," Jasper said. "He certainly didn't understand it was a crime.

"Obviously, [Brockway] owes a big portion of accountability for what took place, but it's certain that there was other things at work here that definitely contributed," he added.

Jasper said that the "heightened rhetoric" contributes as a reason for such things.

"Obviously, it's a tragedy whenever someone is injured, especially a young kid, but with my client being a veteran with a traumatic brain injury, it is absolutely fair to say he got caught up in a heightened animosity and a heightened rhetoric that too many people are engaged in," Jasper said.

"Everyone should learn to dial it down a little bit, from the president to Mineral County," he added.

One last thing…
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