A video circulating on social media shows a supporter of President Donald Trump placing a man in a chokehold after the man crashed his vehicle into a “Stop the Steal” protest in Santa Maria, California.
The altercation unfolded Sunday afternoon after the driver, identified as 20-year-old Jacob Garza, was “antagonizing some participants and throwing objects at the rally,” law enforcement told local outlet KSBY news. Garza then drove his black BMW into the rally, hitting one of the nearby vehicles. The video, which was uploaded to Instagram by user @ab3anater, shows Garza being held to the ground in a chokehold by a Trump supporter as he struggles to break free.
“Welcome to MAGA country, motherfucker!” one bystander yells to Garza, as others begin surroundIng the scene and shouting at Garza. Police eventually arrived at the scene and arrested the 20-year-old. The end of the video shows the damage from the wreck, including an overturned truck on the side of the road.
Two passengers involved in the crash sustained injuries that were not described as critical and were taken to the hospital for treatment, according to KSBY news.
Garza was charged with a misdemeanor for reckless driving causing injury, according to law enforcement. Santa Maria Police Sergeant Nate Totorica told Santa Maria Times that “it’s hard to tell what happened first,” but investigators are reporting that the driver tried to flee the scene and threw a bottle at the crowd before crashing into the vehicle.
“Some witnesses suggest he tried to run and some people grabbed a hold of him,” Totorica told Santa Maria Times. “It’s hard to tell what’s self-defense.”
Garza is now claiming that he is a victim of a “hate crime” and set up a GoFundMe page seeking $10,000 in donations to cover legal and medical fees he sustained from the incident.
“I was targeted and attacked in the midst of a Trump rally for simply being gay. I was followed and harassed which ultimately led to a multi-car accident while trying to escape. I was dragged, degraded, and assaulted until police arrived on scene,” he wrote in the description.
As of Tuesday evening, Garza raised over $3,000 in donations.
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