Superior, MT – A Montana man has blamed President Donald Trump for his attack on a 13-year-old boy who refused to remove his hat for the National Anthem.
The incident occurred as the rest of the people at the Mineral County Fairgrounds were standing for the National Anthem before the start of the rodeo on Aug. 3, according to the Missoulian.
Curt Brockway, 39, told deputies that he asked the boy to remove his hat when the anthem began because it was disrespectful.
Brockway said the boy responded by saying “F--k you!” the Missoulian reported.
Charging documents showed that Brockway told deputies he grabbed the 13 year old by the throat, lifted him up into the air, and then slammed him down to the ground.
Witnesses said that as people closed in on Brockway after the incident, he defended himself by telling them the boy had been disrespectful, the Missoulian reported.
A witness said the boy was bleeding from his ears when he was taken away by medics, NBC News reported.
Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone said the boy was transported to a nearby hospital and then airlifted to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington for treatment.
The boy sustained a concussion and a fractured skull as a result of Brockway’s attack, according to the Missoulian.
Lance Jasper, Brockway’s attorney, blamed the incident on President Trump.
Brockway is a U.S. Army veteran who suffered a brain injury in an off-duty car crash in 2000, the Missoulian reported.
Jasper said that although his client was honorably discharged from the Army for the disability, his military background has been central to his identity as a result of the brain damage.
Brockway suffered damage to his frontal lobe, which is responsible for cognitive functions like judgment and problem-solving, according to the Missoulian.
State records showed that he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in 2011 and is a registered violent offender, NBC News reported.
In 2010, Brockway was arrested after he pulled a gun on a family member and was represented by Jasper on that occasion, too.
The attorney said the court took Brockway’s brain injury into consideration at sentencing and only gave him 10 years of probation, the Missoulian reported.
Jasper successfully petitioned for an early release from probation for Brockway in February.
He blamed President Trump’s “rhetoric” surrounding athletes who knelt for the National Anthem for his client’s violent outburst, according to the Missoulian.
"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.
He said Brockway didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong, the Missoulian reported.
"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," the attorney continued. "He certainly didn't understand it was a crime."
Jasper said Brockway thought he had been given an order by President Trump.
"Trump never necessarily says go hurt somebody, but the message is absolutely clear," Jasper insisted. "I am certain of the fact that [Brockway] was doing what he believed he was told to do, essentially, by the President."
Jasper said Wednesday that he wanted a mental health evaluation conducted on Brockway before offering a defense, the Missoulian reported.
Brockway has been charged with felony assault on a minor and released on his own recognizance despite prosecutor’s requests that he be given a $100,000 bond.
The conditions for his release included home arrest at his parents’ house with a GPS monitoring device and an order not to contact witnesses or use drugs or alcohol, NBC News reported.
Brockway is scheduled to be arraigned in Mineral County District Court on Aug. 14, the Missoulian reported.