News out of New Jersey on Wednesday reports that a teenager allegedly beat up an 81-year-old man because the youngster took issue with the man's choice of wardrobe—he was wearing a MAGA "Make America Great Again" hat.
The 19-year-old teenager, Ryan M. Salvagno, reportedly of Somerset, confronted and started berating the elderly man in front of a Shop Rite. The incident occurred in Franklin Township, and according to the Prosecutor’s Office for Somerset Count, the teenager took issue with the hat the elderly man was wearing.
Trying to avoid the conflict or any further progression of the incident, the elderly man attempted to bypass the teenager, and proceed with his groceries. However, Salvagno allegedly grabbed the hat off the older man's head, and the two began to struggle, fighting over the item, according to accounts as told to the prosecutor’s office.
The 19-year-old then proceeded to allegedly grab the elderly man by the arm and throw him onto the ground. He then tipped the man's cart over an slammed the hat onto the pavement. It was then that law enforcement was alerted to the incident. The elderly victim, according to published reports, only had minor injuries and did indeed refuse treatment.
This is the not the first report of just such an incident of violence, blamed on a MAGA hat. Earlier this month a Massachusetts woman accosted a young man in a Mexican restaurant in much the same way, slapping his hat off his head. When law enforcement arrived, the woman claimed SHE was the real victim, due to the very offensive nature of the hat itself, and when she was being escorted out of the restaurant took another swipe at the young man.
However, the outcome of that case took an unexpected turn, as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released a statement Tuesday that the assailant, Rosiane Santos, as it would turn out, is herself in the US illegally. She is currently scheduled to appear before a judge on proceedings for her removal from the country.
What was already a hot button issue, is rapidly flaring up into what are becoming physical altercations. Many are quick to note that the increase in reported incidents revolving around the MAGA hats seems to coincide with the Jussie Smollett case.
As many may recall, when Smollett filed a report that he had been attacked, he stated the attackers screamed: "this is MAGA country." As it would turn out,it would Smollett who would be arrested when Chicago PD discovered evidence that Smollett not only falsified the report but staged the attack himself, paying his attackers.
As for the teenager who allegedly attacked the elderly individual, he has been charged with both assault and harassment and is currently scheduled to appear in front of a judge on March 14th.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Can the recent upswings in MAGA hat altercations be traced back to and laid at Smollett’s doorstep?