Tcpalm report that a Vero Beach man has been charged with battery after deputies said he spit on a man and hit his “Make America Great Again” hat.
Matthias Ajple, 43, of the 4100 block of Chardonnay Place Southwest, was seen on surveillance video at the Hurricane Grill & Wings at 943 15th Place in Vero Beach walking over to 67-year-old Robert Youngblood’s outdoor table.
Ajple slapped Youngblood’s hat and then leaned over the restaurant’s gate railing and spit on him, according to an Indian River County Sheriff’s Office report.
The incident took place at 8:10 p.m. Friday.
Youngblood told a deputy he was sitting with two friends at the restaurant when Ajple walked over and said “You should go back to Russia you … communist,” the report said.
After slapping the hat and spitting on Youngblood, Ajple got in a car and drove away from the restaurant, according to the report.
Youngblood was able to write down the car’s license plate number and deputies tracked down Ajple at his home.
A deputy spoke with Ajple’s wife at the address, who said she told her husband to go up to Youngblood and tell him to “go back to Russia,” the report said. She told deputies she did not witness the altercation.
The arresting deputy then spoke with Ajple, according to the report.
“I was just trying to protect you guys because I support law enforcement. Trump supporters are communist and racist,” Ajple told the deputy. “I don’t even care that I’m going to jail; this is actually exciting.”
“Plus, I have more time on this earth than he does anyway; he probably feels so good about himself,” according to the report.
Youngblood said Ajple later called and tried to apologize, but Youngblood told him to never call again.
Ajple was charged with battery and brought to the Indian River County Jail. Bond was set at $500.
This is not the first incident along the Treasure Coast where a “Make America Great Again” hat has incited a reaction.
In March, a Martin County school bus aide removed a “Make America Great Again” hat from a student’s head. Prosecutors decided against filing charges.
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