A man canvassing for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the Miami area was brutally attacked Sunday night, as we reported earlier. According to a tweet from Rubio, which was accompanied by pictures of the bloodied and bruised man in an ambulance, someone told the canvasser that “Republicans are not welcome here,” and then four people physically attacked the canvasser, causing internal bleeding and a broken jaw.
Just hours later, ABC’s Miami affiliate ran a story headlined “Hialeah police: ‘No indication’ of political motive in attack on Rubio canvasser,” although the rest of the police spokesman’s statement said, “at this time,” and although the initial report is only about two paragraphs long – indicating that full statements have not been given.
And, although the police did not identify the victim, ABC got right into investigative mode and doxxed him, then linked him to an alleged “white supremacist” group.
The WPLG story begins by stating that police have arrested Javier Lopez, 22, for the attack and repeats the information contained in Rubio’s tweet. The rest of the story then focuses on attempting to discredit Rubio’s account, dispute the motivation, and identifying and smearing the victim. (Editor’s Note: RedState is not naming the victim at this time and will not do so unless the victim makes a public statement about the incident.)
But a Hialeah police arrest report obtained by Local 10 News makes no mention of any additional attackers or any stated political motivation.
When asked by Local 10 News if police believed the attack was politically motivated, Sgt. Jose Torres, a Hialeah Police Department spokesperson, said the agency would “allow the investigation to reveal that,” but, as of Monday afternoon, there was “no indication that is the case.”
The police report, which contains a very brief narrative, details that the attacker was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking the canvasser’s path, and that the canvasser “walked toward the street to avoid” the attacker:
UPON ARRIVAL VIC 1 STATED THAT HE WAS WALKING AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD HANDING OUT FLIERS WHEN HE CAME ACROSS THE DEFENDANT WHO WAS BLOCKING THE SIDEWALK. DEFENDANT CONFRONTED THE VIC AND STATED THAT HE COULD NOT PASS THROUGH THE SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF HIS RESIDENCE. VIC PROCEEDED TO WALK TOWARDS THE STREET TO AVOID THE DEFENDANT AT WHICH POINT THE DEFENDANT STATED TO THE VIC “YOU CAN’T PASS BY HERE THIS IS MY NEIGHBORHOOD” VIC THEN STATED TO THE DEFENDANT ” THIS IS PUBLIC PROPERTY AND I CAN BE HERE IF I WANT TO. THE DEFENDANT AND THE VIC THEN BEGAN TO HAVE A VERBAL DISPUTE AT WHICH TIME THE DEFENDANT RUSHED TOWARDS THE VICTIM TO GRAB HIM AND PROCEEDED TO SLAM HIM AGAINST THE FLOOR.
AT THIS POINT ANOTHER SUBJECT WHO FLED THE SCENE PRIOR TO POLICE ARRIVAL KICKED THE DEFENDANT ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HIS FACE. THE DEFENDANT SUBSEQUENTALY BEGAN TO STRIKE THE VIC MULTIPLE TIMES WITH CLOSED FISTS ON THE VICTIMS FACE CAUSING HIM TO HAVE A SEVERE SWELLING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HIS FACE AND HIS RIGHT EYE BEING COMPLETELY SHUT FROM THE DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE DEFENDANT. THE DEFENDANT CONTINUED STRIKING THE VIC ON HIS MOUTH CAUSING A SEVERE SWELLING AND BLEEDING.
HIALEAH FIRE RESCUE ENGINE 2 UNDER THE COMMAND OF LT. KENYON INCIDENT NUMBER 202229857 RESPONDED TO THE SCENE TO TREAT VIC INJURIES.
WPLG then named the victim and reported that he’d been arrested in 2017 during a protest in Hollywood, Florida regarding renaming Confederate statues and monuments, accused of “jabbing a flag, containing a Confederate design, at people.” They don’t note whether he was convicted or not, but they do note that he was wearing a t-shirt that said, “League of the South” and that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers that group a ‘neo-Confederate’ hate group.”
WPLG reports that the victim “has spoken publicly about his past support of white nationalism, but said he changed his ways” and that he initially agreed to be interviewed by the station about this incident but then changed his mind. Who can blame him?
Assuming that the victim’s background as reported is accurate – both the arrest and the part about changing his ways – still, what does it matter? There’s no indication that the attacker knew any of this, and even if the attacker’s motive for telling the canvasser that he couldn’t pass by was, say, gang territorialism, the fact that someone who was clearly out there as part of the election process was so brutally attacked is not a good thing for our country. And the fact that the press immediately goes into “smear the victim” mode makes them complicit in political violence.