We have previously discussed rising cases of politically motivated violence, including attacks on people wearing MAGA hats. In Delaware, two women reached a particular low point by stealing the hat of a 7-year-old and then screaming profanities, ripping up signs, and one assaulting an individual in a parking lot near the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. The Delaware police hit Olivia Winslow, 21, and Camryn Amy, 21, with an array of well-earned charges, though one charge remains unclear in terms of the relevant conduct. What is remarkable about the videotape is the sense of utter entitlement to attack those with opposing views.
I have been critical of professors who have declared any MAGA displays as proof of white supremacism or fascism. Such views have fueled a type of license to assault and abuse people for their political views. MAGA hats have been banned from some college coffee shops or stolen by fellow students on campuses. Even journalists have declared anyone wearing a MAGA hat to be a per se racist.
Such voices of intolerance reinforce those who claim the right to take violent action as shown in the video taken near the Democratic National Convention. The video is available here.
Winslow and Amy were charged with robbery, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Amy was also charged with offensive touching.
The endangering charge is the interesting one from a criminal defense perspective. It is true that the women take the hat into the parking lot and the boy follows. However, the mother is bizarrely telling her son to get his hat back from two clearly violent women and to follow them into the parking lot. One of the women eventually throws the hat over the fence. The question is whether the endangerment charge is due to the boy following them, the later violence of the women, or the original attack. If they plead down to misdemeanors, the endangerment charge could fall out.
The law itself includes a child witnessing certain felonies:
(4) The person commits any violent felony, or reckless endangering second degree, assault third degree, terroristic threatening, unlawful imprisonment second degree, or child abuse third degree against a victim, knowing that such felony or misdemeanor was witnessed, either by sight or sound, by a child less than 18 years of age who is a member of the person’s family or the victim’s family…
In any case, the videotape leaves no obvious defense and no course other than a plea. A defense attorney might seek a plea to a single count each. The priority would be to drop the endangering of a child count, which could have the longest lasting impacts on the women in terms of future employment.