Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has defended his son, Conor Kennedy, after the 22-year-old was arrested for repeatedly punching a patron at a nightclub in Aspen, Colorado. The Kennedy family maintains that the altercation began when the victim called Conor's friend a homophobic slur.
On Dec. 29, Conor was arrested by the Aspen Police Department after he fought an unidentified man at the Bootsy Bellows, an Aspen-based nightclub. Aspen police officer Andrew Atkinson arrived on the scene and found Kennedy repeatedly punching the man in the head.
Robert has asserted that his son was provoked by several men who had repeatedly called one of his friends a homophobic slur throughout the evening and that the victim had initiated the fight.
"Conor has always reacted against bullying," Robert told The Aspen Times. "I'm happy he stood up for his friend."
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In his police report, Atkinson stated that he had attempted to break up the fight when Conor physically resisted him, resulting in the two of them tumbling into a nearby snow bank.
"[Conor] and I fell back onto the snow bank … where [Conor] attempted to pull away from me and stand up," Atkinson wrote, according to The Apen Times. "I held onto [Conor's] arms and rolled him over with assistance from a bystander onto his stomach."
Officer Atkinson added that Conor had apologized to him after he was handcuffed.
Conor has been given a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and may face an assault charge in the higher level Pitkin County Court. His lawyers, Matt Ferguson and Ryan Kalamaya, have asserted that witnesses on the scene "reported that two men assaulted Conor Kennedy after he rebuked them for directing a homophobic slur and threats to his close friend."
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They added that Conor was "cooperative, compliant and respectful toward the police from the moment they arrived on the scene."
Andrew Sandler, the proprietor of Bootsy Bellows, did not recall whether or not the other man had used homophobic slurs that evening but stated that Conor had behaved while he was inside of the club.
"Bootsy gets packed, and it's the time of the year where we have celebrities and a whole variety of demographics," Sandler told Aspen Daily News. "A guy mouthed off, and the guy who mouthed off got popped."
Conor will appear in court on Feb. 22. His attorneys have not announced whether or not he will plead guilty to any charges.
"I'm very sorry it turned into a police incident," Robert said. "[Conor's] not liking the attention."
Conor's father also said he's "proud" that Conor stands up to bullies, reports People.