Investigators recommend charge for teen pepper-sprayed at Donald Trump rally

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 4:33 PM

Video of the incident shows a crowd of people in a parking lot exterior the rally in Janesville Tuesday.

Investigators recommend charge for teen pepper-sprayed at Donald Trump rally

A 15-year-old girl who was pepper sprayed after she punched a man at a Donald Trump rally in WI should be charged with disorderly conduct, investigators said Thursday.

Video of the incident shows a crowd of people in a parking lot exterior the rally in Janesville Tuesday. The girl can be seen holding an anti-Trump sign and arguing with a 59-year-old man.

The video shows the man turning far from the teen with his hands in the air and seconds later, the girl punches him in the face. Another man wearing a ruddy Trump had then pepper-sprayed then and disappeared into the crowed.

The girl told police the first man groped her breast. But Chief David Moore told reporters during a news conference Thursday that extra video doesn't indicate any proof the man groped her and that twelve out of thirteen witnesses said they didn't look him do anything.

Moore said the man who was assaulted didn’t wish to press charges, but investigators have recommended juvenile authorities charge her with disorderly conduct for “an act of violence.”

He said the time passed between the alleged groping and the punching and the man and the girl were several feet apart when she threw the punch.

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"Clearly her punch was illegal," Moore said.

The chief said investigators won't pursue charges of filing a misleading police report against the girl. He said she genuinely believes she felt pressure on her breast. However, he said, quarters were tight and people were brushing up against one another throughout the crowd.

Janesville police Sgt. Aaron Dammen said they’ve located the man suspected of pepper-spraying the girl during the altercation and they talked to a man accused of groping the girl.

Dammen said the investigation into the confrontation continues and number charges have been filed. However, Moore also described the utilize of pepper spray as an act of violence and Police Lt. Keith Lawver said he could face misdemeanor battery charges.

Moore said three hundred fifty officers were on duty at the rally but none of them saw the altercation. The video shows about a half-dozen officers close the dispute, but it appears their view would've been blocked by rows of people.

Asked whether police should've kept pro- and anti-Trump supporters separated rather than allowing them to mingle, Moore said it'd have been challenging to separate the two groups and "we allowed free speech throughout the area."

The altercation was the latest in a series of confrontations that have marred recent Trump events.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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