Stupid: Paul supporter stomps protester at debate; Update: 2nd incident injures Paul supporter; Update: Paul supporter apologizes

Want to bet this gets a little more media play than the SEIU thug that beat Ken Gladney in St. Louis earlier this year? That’s why this is stupid as well as criminal. In an attempt to shield Rand Paul from a protester who wanted to get Paul on camera in a protest stunt with a “Republicorp” sign, a handful of Paul supporters grabbed the protester and threw her to the ground, while one stomped on her back:

Absolutely indefensible. Regardless of the woman’s intent, she has as much right to be in that public venue as Paul’s supporters. They have no right to assault her just because she’s holding a ridiculous MoveOn sign or even approaching the candidate. The sign, by the way, refers to MoveOn’s new campaign to focus attention on spending by outside groups in support of Republican candidates as uber-Establishment types, a fairly laughable effort considering the amount of money spent by MoveOn, unions, and other outside groups on behalf of Democrats, which went 2-1 in Democrats’ favor in 2006 and probably more in 2008.

This is one of the reasons why it’s incumbent on candidates to provide their own security. While guard firms rely on the same legal principles of citizens’ arrest that apply to everyone else, they get a lot more training in it than rally attendees. Paul has his own security with him, as the video seems to show, and they knew better than to react to an obvious provocation, and especially not to overreact to it.

The person in this video shown stomping on the prone woman should be facing charges of assault and battery today, just as Gladney’s attacker should have to answer for his assault. And in the future, perhaps calmer heads will prevail.

Update: This is equally stupid:

The second occurred after a Conway supporter stepped on the foot of a female Rand supporter, who recently had foot surgery, according to police.

The woman was wearing a surgical boot, but after the injury, her incision was cut open. Police say she refused medical treatment and also filed an assault report.

Violence in politics is unacceptable no matter which side indulges in it.  Dan O’Herlihy has a message for those who get out of hand…

Update II: Some have speculated that this was a setup, but a later report shows that it wasn’t.  The man in the video shown stomping on the back of the protester has now apologized:

A Rand Paul supporter is apologizing after he was seen on video stepping on a liberal activist’s head.

Tim Profitt, a volunteer with the Republican’s U.S. Senate campaign, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was. He criticized police for not stepping in and says other supporters warned authorities about the activist. …

The Paul campaign cut ties with Profitt, removing him from his role as Bourbon County campaign coordinator and banning him from campaign events.

That’s the appropriate response.

Update III: Paul’s campaign has issued a statement, courtesy of Stacey McCain:

“The Paul for Senate campaign is extremely disappointed in, and condemns the actions of a supporter last night outside the KET debate. Whatever the perceived provocation, any level of aggression or violence is deplorable, and will not be tolerated by our campaign. The Paul campaign has disassociated itself from the volunteer who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind.”