A Donald Trump supporter was arrested andcharged with misdemeanor battery after allegedly attacking a reporter at the president’s re-election rally in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday.
Daniel Patrick Kestner of St. Augustine, Fla., apologized Wednesday and said he had no idea the man who had been recording him outside the rally venue was a reporter. But the Orlando Sentinel says its reporter did identify himself as a member of the media.
Michael Williams, a breaking news reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, was recording an interaction of two men who were being kicked out of the Amway Center, where Trump held his rally.
In the video, a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap sees Williams recording him and the other man exiting the building.
“You taping this? I don’t want it. Stop,” the man is heard saying in the video. He begins approaching Williams, as the reporter tries to back away.
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The man continued to walk towards Williams and threatened him, saying “I promise I’ll kick you in the nuts.” He then smacked Williams phone, at which point security intervened.
Authorities identified the man as Daniel Patrick Kestner of St. Augustine, Fla., according to the Washington Post.
Kestner, 51, was charged with first-degree battery, a misdemeanor, “for willingly striking Williams without permission,” according to the Sentinel. Authorities said that Kestner was intoxicated and taken to Orange County Jail, the Post also reported.
Kestner apologized Wednesday morning.
When asked by Knight News whether he was “sorry for hitting the reporter’s phone,” Kestner said: “Yeah, absolutely.”
He also said he was “100 percent” remorseful and “had no idea” that Williams, the man recording him, was a reporter.
According to the Sentinel, the police report said Williams identified himself as a reporter.
Trump has often bashed media outlets as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Since then, reporters at the president’s rallies have been booed at and heckled — often after Trump has specifically called a rally crowd’s attention to the journalists there to cover the event and after Trump has sometimes labeled journalists “fake news” during a stump speech. Earlier this year, a BBC cameraman was also attacked by a Trump supporter during a rally in El Paso, Texas.
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