Violence mars right-wing Woodstock as Trump Nation reacts to the clowns awaiting them at Trump’s Oct. 30 rally. APD shows incredible restraint as Trumpers attack.
By Tom O’Connell
The Albuquerque Police Department didn’t hesitate to sic 40 riot cops on peaceful anti-The Donald protesters, but gave a pass to three spazzed-out Trumpers who pummeled a protester and a photographer and shoved an Associated Press reporter, unprovoked.
Trump’s desperate legions gleefully loosed their hatred at the Oct. 30 event, held nine days before the nation was to decide between what many Americans consider to be two unqualified applicants to the highest seat of world power.
Welcome to the Clown Show
When the “Hillary for Prison”-shirt-wearing rabble of super-patriots descended on the Atlantic Aviation hangar in Albuquerque to support their favored oligarch-in-chief, the “Clowns 4 Trump” were there to welcome them to the show.
Some Trumpers were confused, others were incensed. Were these clowns really Trump supporters, or was there irony afoot? But there was little confusion over the Scottish brogue of New Mexico film union president Jon Hendry, in his Trump wig, orange face paint and giant shoes, as he greeted the red-white-and-blue-hair crowd.
“Welcome, fellow clowns, to the clown show!”
Free Speech? Not in MY Country!
“Kill yourself!” one white male twentysomething shouted in their faces.
“You’re an abortion that lived!” shouted an old white guy, neck veins bulging, at a lady Hillary supporter standing with the clowns.
Another diminutive old white guy with a limp, neck veins fit to explode, shoved Associated Press reporter Russell Contreras and yelled at protesters as he staggered toward the hangar. That gentleman was later filmed inside the rally screaming at the press corps, as
Trump’s Rowdies are wont to do. He’s someone’s beloved, if unhinged, grandpa. He’s a geriatric G.G. Allin whose fury is palpable, almost admirable, in its confused majesty.
As the rhetoric ramped up, IATSE Local 480’s Jon Hendry decided to pack it in. The darkness emboldens the irascible man-child in the American id, he told me. Things could get weird. As indeed they did.
“Sometimes humor is the best form of protest,” Hendry later told me. “Other times we man the barricades. This was our attempt at humor. The other option is still available.”
The clowns left, taking with them any comic relief.
As they marched to the rally entrance, 25 or so anti-Trump protesters were quickly faced with 40 armored APD riot cops who seemed to appear out of nowhere, clutching billy clubs and rifles, eager to stop a replay of the unrest that followed Trump’s May 24 appearance in the Duke City. Protesters attempted to communicate with and shame the stone-faced cops behind plastic visors, who stoically stood guard, looking hungry for the least provocation to smack down any hint of revolt.
Soon things turned weird.
‘You’re Not a Reporter, You’re a Pussy!’
The Atlantic Aviation hangar quickly filled to capacity, leaving many Trump fans outside the gates, where they mingled with protesters under the gaze of the riot cops. Albuquerque activist Javier Benavidez of SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) turned on a portable air-raid siren that caught the attention of Trump, who mentioned it in his speech. It also confused and pissed off the Trumpers outside the gate.
One fellow stood with his smartphone filming in Benavidez’s face, trying to get a reaction and hopefully a fight, it seemed. I engaged the guy, told him I was an independent reporter, and he told me, “You’re not a reporter, you’re a pussy.” Part of that statement may be true, but I was in fact there to report on the antics of the unhinged.
As Trump’s speech wound down, the phalanx of riot cops adjusted itself as rally attendees started streaming out. To keep them separated from the protesters, APD routed them past Javier Benavidez and his air ride siren. Another little old angry white guy—more of those bulging neck veins—was agitated to the point where he was fit to attack Benavidez. I had my phone on him and his clenched fists, and the gentleman who’d just called me a pussy tried to block me from filming him.
Nothing happened. The violence wouldn’t break out until a few minutes later as the protesters marched away from the rally entrance and back to a staging area.
Fists Fly as APD Looks the Other Way
APD recently made a media show of their arrest of Albuquerque middle school teacher Benjamin Thomas Imbus, taking him into custody in front of news cameras at his school and charging him with felony damage to property. Imbus had blocked a downtown street with other activists during an Oct. 12 protest of the outcome of the trial of the cops accused of gunning down homeless camper James Boyd when a pickup truck lurched into the crowd. Imbus can be seen on video hitting the truck with his protest sign, and cops claimed he did a whopping $1,800 in damage.
But APD doesn’t seem so gung-ho to arrest some people for violent crimes involving actual victims, if the violence at the Trump rally is any indication.
One protester in an Anonymous mask was pummeled by at least two rally-goers. Photojournalist Andy Christophersen, who posts content on this website, got it worse when he tried to intervene. He was double-teamed by two unhinged counterprotesters, and said his lights went out at one point as his sunglasses and hat flew off and he crumpled to the ground.
“I noticed a Trump supporter wearing a ‘Deplorable Lives Matter’ T-shirt, yelling, trying to fight protesters, so I started filming the altercation,” said Christophersen. “The guy notices me and says, ‘Take my picture.’ I told him I was live in hopes that he would stop going crazy. A woman that he was with said, ‘Get him,’ and tried to take my phone. I told her to get the fuck away from me when Mr. Deplorable loses his mind, gets in my face screaming, trying to get me to swing at him. As he turned his attention to someone else, I started following him, narrating what was happening, when a guy walking in front of me turned around and sucker-punched me in the face. Mr. Deplorable then jumps off the hill and started hitting me while I was trying to fight off his buddy.”
‘Clean & Sober’ Bike Club Apologizes to Anonymous
I followed one of the attackers with my video recording, asking why he’d attacked people. He wore a black leather biker vest with the name of his motorcycle club on it, Survivors MC Clean & Sober Central New Mexico. After a while, this Trumper turned and came after me, so I backed off. You can see photos of him on the group’s Facebook page. After the local Anonymous faction, Anonymous Tribe of New Mexico, identified the goon and called out the club for his violence, the club issued this apology on the Anon page:
FROM “THROTTLE HIGHTOWER” -VP Survivor MC Clean and Sober Central New Mexico
Anonymous, I am Survivor Throttle, VP of the Survivors Clean & Sober CNM Tribe. Please accept my apology for the conduct of our brother. We in NO way condone his behavior. He should have walked away. We will deal with this matter internally. Being an MC, we police our own. This will NEVER happen again! Please extend my sincerest apologies to the individual who our brother struck.
Thank you for your consideration. Survivor Throttle, VP CNM Tribe
APD’s Selective Enforcement of the Law?
Christophersen and some witnesses immediately reported the attacks to police. I did as well, and offered them my video as evidence. I even told police that if they stopped every giant Harley-Davidson coming out of the rally, they’d have one of the attackers. Christophersen, sporting a black eye, filed a formal police report the next day. No arrests have been made, and he has the feeling APD is selectively applying the law.
“If a Trump supporter was assaulted by two protesters,” said Christophersen, “you can be assured that the mainstream media and APD would have collaborated to apprehend the offenders, at the same time using dangerous, inflammatory language to describe them.”