A male Hillary Clinton supporter assaulted a Donald Trump campaign volunteer passing out campaign literature need a voting site in Jupiter (FL) this morning, and got a face-full of pepper spray for his trouble.
The tension and anxiety of the presidential election buildup reached its peak Tuesday morning at the Jupiter Community Center voting site when a man knocked a woman to the ground after she pepper-sprayed him following a shouting match.
Jupiter police are investigating the altercation between Tom Garrecht, who voted for Hillary Clinton, and Donna Tatlici, who was handing out Donald Trump literature at the site.
Tatlici, 58, said she has been at the Jupiter Community Center volunteering for a week when Garrecht, 52, arrived to vote and screamed at her, “I don’t need anyone to tell me who to vote for.”
Tatlici responded, “I’m not here to do that. I’m just here to give you the information.”
After Garrecht voted, Tatlici said he exited the polling site, charged at her and “came right into my face,” and was yelling expletives at her.
Tatlici warned Garrecht that she had pepper spray on her key chain and that he should back away.
As the shouting increased, the two got closer and she pepper-sprayed him. She said at that point Garrecht “put his hand on her shoulder” as the two continued to have words before Garrecht slammed her to the ground and “started punching her.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I couldn’t believe someone would actually hit me. I was really upset.”
Those who saw the altercation say the fight happened in front of some campaign signs for Trump and Republican candidate for U.S. House District 18 Brian Mast. The signs are a legal distance away from the polling place.
One witness said Garrecht was “up in her face like he was picking a fight.”
Tatlici, who has a scrape on her elbow, but is otherwise fine, said she will press charges.
Mark Smith, a lawyer handing out literature nearby on behalf of his friend, state Senate candidate Ron Berman, said Garrecht came out of the polling place “with a huge chip on his shoulder.”
“He was up in her face like he was picking a fight,” Smith said.
Tatlici was handing out sheets of paper with down-ballot recommendations for Trump supporters, something done at polling sites nationwide by both parties. She was doing nothing wrong or even the slightest bit questionable when attacked by Garrecht.
Tatlici says she will file criminal charges for the unprovoked attack.
Garrecht said he felt triggered by the presence of a handful of GOP campaign volunteers passing out literature more than 100 feet away from the polling site.