Protester arrested at Trump rally told police act was pre-planned

  • AP, Cleveland
  • Updated: Mar 14, 2016 09:05 IST
A picture of Thomas DiMassimo. The student and protester told police that he had no intention of causing any harm when he rushed the stage during a Trump rally. (Photo Courtesy: DiMassimo’s Facebook profile.)

A man arrested on Saturday after he tried to get on the stage at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Ohio reportedly told police he planned to grab the microphone and yell that Trump is a racist but didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

The Dayton Daily News, a local Ohio newspaper, had obtained a report from Dayton police that included comments 22-year-old Thomas DiMassimo of Fairborn made to officers after his arrest. The newspaper said DiMassimo told officers he gave his car keys to his girlfriend before he rushed the stage because he anticipated being arrested.

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The newspaper said DiMassimo vaulted over waist-high metal railings, muscled past security guards and nearly got on the stage at the end of Trump’s rally before Secret Service agents tackled and handcuffed him. Video footage shows Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential campaign, turning around after hearing the commotion followed by agents surrounding him protectively. Trump was campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s Ohio primary

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DiMassimo was released on bail last Saturday after being charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct. DiMassimo, an acting major in the theatre program at Wright State University, couldn’t be reached for comment on Sunday. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.

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The Daily News also reported DiMassimo was involved in an anti-racism protest at Wright State in April. Video from the protest shows him dragging an American flag behind and then standing on it.

Trump on Twitter thanked the Secret Service for acting so quickly on and implied that DiMassimo has ties to the Islamic State group, an assertion swiftly dismissed by experts.

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