SUPERIOR, Mont. – Army Veteran pleads not guilty to charges he slammed a boy to the ground for not taking off his hat for the National Anthem, according to CNN.
The police affidavit said 39-year-old Curt Brockway picked up a 13-year-old boy by his throat and slammed him onto the ground.
CNN reports this was all because the boy was wearing a hat during the National Anthem at the county rodeo.
Reports say the boy had a fractured skull, a concussion and was bleeding out of his ears.
Brockway’s alleged actions seemed impossible to explain but his lawyer Lance Jasper believes he may have been influenced by President Trump.
Jasper said, “When you have a person who doesn’t have much of a life they only have what’s core to them and his core he’s a veteran. And so he’s going to listen to whoever he identifies with.”
CNN says President Trump has had tough criticism for recent high-profile protests during the national anthem.
Trump said, “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Jasper says his client took messages like that to heart.
CNN reporter Scott McLean said, “But what makes you think he’s being influenced by the White House specifically and not just sort of blind patriotism?”
“It simply boils down to his statements. He understood everyone is to observe the national anthem,” said Jasper.
Jasper told CNN that he has received many hateful and threatening messages about this case but what’s missing amongst all the outrage is context.
According to Veterans Affairs, Brockway was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury after a car accident in 2001 while enlisted in the army. Jasper says in some ways Brockway’s cognitive abilities are at a 3rd-grade level and struggles with impulse control.
McLean asked Jasper if Brockway knows and understands that he did something wrong.
Jasper claims he knows he did something wrong and said, “Because he feels terrible for the little boy. He knows that hurting a little boy- it wasn’t his intention. I mean again it goes back to his impulse control it just wasn’t there. If it would have been there for a split second it wouldn’t have happened.”
In 2010 Brockway was convicted on a charge of assault after threatening a group of people with a gun. He has spent nearly the past decade on probation.
CNN reports that in court, Brockway pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault on a minor though no one doubts who is at fault. While his lawyer is merely pleading for the public to see the shades of gray.
“It’s not black and white that’s the whole thing here it’s not. You have a tragedy that needs to be explained and you have a boy that’s innocent in it did nothing wrong but he’s injured by someone that is also impaired and so you have to evaluate it all,” Jasper said.
A psychological evaluation will be done before Brockway’s next court appearance.
Information from CNN https://www.cnn.com