Two young girls were reportedly pepper-sprayed during a clash between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump supporters and protesters outside the city hall of Anaheim, California. The culprit has not yet been identified.
On April 26, protesters gathered outside of the Anaheim city hall to voice their disapproval of a motion for the city to officially condemn Trump’s controversial rhetoric. City council members were scheduled to debate the proposed resolution that day, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate clashed with counter-protesters, the two groups becoming verbally aggressive before spiraling into violence. Pepper spray and a Taser were deployed during the melee, although it is not clear which side the culprits belonged to.
Television footage suggested that a Trump protester used the Taser while Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt told reporters that his department believed that it was the anti-Trump protesters who used pepper spray. Two witnesses on the scene claimed that both sides were using pepper spray against each other.
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Caught in the crossfire were two children, both sprayed in the eyes. The two girls, ages 8 and 11, were bystanders to the scene and were standing beside a Trump supporter who was presumably their guardian, New York Daily News reports.
Linda Reedy of the pro-Trump group, We the People Rising, was also pepper-sprayed in the eyes. She said the anti-Trump protesters had goaded her and her friends into fighting.
“I just think they’re so out of control,” Reedy told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m so sick of the anger in this country.”
The Anaheim city council debated for four hours whether or not to pass the resolution to denounce Trump. Ultimately they decided to take no action.
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Republican Mayor Tom Tait of Anaheim had opposed the resolution, deeming it unfair for government officials to speak for their constituents.
“We’ve taken positions on legislation, but never on a candidate,” Tait said. “Certainly, privately, any council member of I could, but as an official government action — it’s not appropriate.”
The violence in Anaheim has occurred across the country, with Trump supporters and protesters’ verbal attacks turning into physical violence on a number of occasions.
The last time that pepper spray figured prominently during a Trump rally was when a 15-year-old protester was sprayed in the face in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Alex Drake, a young woman protesting Trump among his own supporters, had lashed out at a 59-year-old supporter of the business mogul after she had accused him of sexually groping her. Drake was pepper-sprayed in the face by another Trump supporter during the altercation, ABC News reports.
The young woman retreated from the crowd while being called racial and gender slurs by Trump supporters.
Trump will hold a campaign rally in Costa Mesa, California, on April 28.