MoveOn.org volunteer Lauren Valle went to the Kentucky Senatorial debate on Monday hoping to get a picture with Republican candidate Rand Paul while holding up a sign reading “RepubliCorp: Employee of the Month.” At this time, there have been no reports of Valle exhibiting intent to harm or any violent behavior. However, instead of a peaceful protest with the opportunity to voice her opinion, as the First Amendment allows, the event turned into an incident she is not soon to forget.
As seen in video captured at the event, Valle had a blond wig on which was ripped from her head by the crowd and she was then forced down to the ground by a man in a tan-colored hat, along with other attendees outside the debate. As Valle lay with the side of her face to the ground outside the Kentucky Senatorial debate, the crowd continued to hover over her screaming and yelling inaudible comments while a man wearing white tennis shoes, later identified as Tim Profitt, stomps on her head and back several times as she was held down to the ground by the man in the hat. A woman can be seen stepping over Valle as all this plays out in a crowd of about 300 people. Shouts can be heard coming from the crowd for someone to “call the police.”
No one was seen coming to the aide of Valle as she was attacked by angry Paul supporters, and it is unclear how she was finally able to get away from the crowd that was attacking her. After the attack, Valle was able to speak with local reporters as well as with the police before being taken to the hospital, where she remained overnight for observation.
The Huffington Post reports that Lexington Police Department spokesman Lt. Edward Hart provided a statement early Tuesday morning saying that there is a “pending investigation” at this time. Hart says “the victim, apparently, was trying to run up and approach Dr. Paul with a sign reading ‘RepubliCorp: Employee of the Month,'” he added. “She worked for MoveOn.org — was a contract employee sent to the debate with MoveOn.org for the purpose of getting a picture with Dr. Paul with the sign.”
The Rand Paul campaign has released a statement saying:
“We understand that there was an altercation outside of the debate between supporters of both sides and that is incredibly unfortunate. Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election. We are relieved to hear that the woman in question was not injured.”
Rand Paul’s statement is being echoed around the country as many find it hard to understand why someone would have attacked Valle for what appears to be a peaceful protest. The fact that it was a man who attacked her makes the video even harder to watch and comprehend what could have went so wrong so fast. Politics has always been known to create the deepest of emotions and feelings of anger amongst friends as well as strangers. Even the candidates, Paul and Jack Conway, themselves had a bitter exchange at the last debate which has been dubbed one of the nastiest debates in history, but a reaction such as this has not been seen and is unacceptable.
This all seems to be just another incident where mob mentality has taken over and run amok creating violence in the face of opposition and the expression of one person’s opinion that is different from another. Lexington police later provided a statement saying “Mr. Profitt is currently being served with a criminal summons ordering him to appear before a Fayette County District Court judge.”
Steve Krakauer, “Rand Paul Supporter Stomps On Head Of Female MoveOn Rep In Pre-Debate Scuffle” mediaite.com
Sam Stein, “Apparent Rand Paul Supporter Stomps on MoveOn Member’s Head” huffingtonpost.com
Andrew Malcolm, “Top of the Ticket” latimesblogs.latimes.com