A University of California, Riverside (UCR) student has been charged with misdemeanor petty theft for allegedly snatching a "Make America Great Again" hat from her peer.
On Sept. 27, UCR student Edith Macias took issue with fellow student Matthew Vitale when he wore a Trump campaign hat to a student organization retreat on campus, KCAL reports.
"You know what this represents?" Macias reportedly told Vitale. "This represents genocide. Genocide of a bunch of people."
Macias filmed herself chastising Vitale for endorsing President Donald Trump and allegedly snatching the cap from his head and running away with it to the student services office.
"UCR is letting people wear this s**t on campus?" Macias told the office staff in the video. "Make American Great Again, really? There were lynchings and genocide and mass deportations."
Vitale repeatedly attempted to retrieve his hat. In the video, Macias told him "F**k your freedom of speech, boy, your freedom of speech is literally killing a lot of people out there, your hats like these that promote laws and legislation that literally kill and murder people of color."
Macias eventually handed the hat over to the office staff, who then returned the cap to Vitale.
Macias uploaded video of the incident online, where it went viral and stirred controversy on campus and an outrage on conservative media. UCR Executive Vice Chancellor Cindy Larve issued a statement urging students to respect each other's freedom of expression.
"I want all of our students to be able to express their opinions," Larve said. "Just because someone says something you don't like, they have a right under the constitution to express that opinion."
Vitale subsequently filed charges against Macias with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. A local officer interviewed Macias and wrote in a declaration of support for the arrest warrant that she "stated she wanted to burn the hat because of what it represented."
Macias' court date is set for March. If convicted, she could face up to one year in Riverside County jail.
"I'm very excited that the DA's office took this seriously. ... I get the feeling that the school didn't take it very seriously," Vitale told Fox News.
In a separate interview, Vitale asserted that he pressed charges against Macias in order to make a philosophical point.
"I do want to send a message," Vitale told The College Fix. "I am not vindictive, I am not vengeful, but people especially in my generation need to realize you can't do things like this because you don't like what someone is saying or wearing."
Macias has not given comment on the charge.