Conor Kennedy, the onetime Taylor Swift boyfriend and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, was arrested for allegedly fighting outside a Colorado nightclub early Thursday because he was defending a gay friend who had been called a homophobic slur, his father claimed in an interview with the Aspen Times.
“Like any father, I don’t want to see my son fighting or involved with the police,” Robert Kennedy Jr. tells PEOPLE. “But on the other hand, I’m proud that he stands up to bullies.”
RFK Jr. told the Times the altercation escalated after Conor, 22, asked several men at the Bootsy Bellows nightclub in Aspen, Colorado, to apologize to his friend for using a homophobic slur.
Though one of the men did apologize, two of their group later used slurs about Conor’s friend, RFK Jr. said.
The fight broke when one of the men allegedly swung at Conor, RFK Jr. told the Times. “I’m very sorry it turned into a police incident,” he said. “[Conor’s] not liking the attention.”
Conor’s attorneys said in a statement to PEOPLE, “Multiple witnesses to the incident have reported that two men assaulted Mr. Kennedy after he rebuked them for directing a homophobic slur and bullying his close friend.” Aspen police told the Times that no one has come forward about being threatened that night for being gay.
Conor’s attorneys said he was “cooperative, compliant and respectful” toward police and added, “Mr. Kennedy looks forward to a full airing of the incident.”
“We are aware of some of those allegations, and we are following up on them this evening,” Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn told the Times. “At the moment, there have been no allegations of additional crimes given by witnesses or those involved in the incident.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Conor allegedly fought another man in the street outside the club about 1:40 a.m., according to an Aspen police news release.
Witnesses reported seeing Conor allegedly punch the man in the head about four or five times before struggling against an officer who tried to restrain him, according to the news release.
Conor later apologized to one of the officers, according to a police report of the incident obtained by multiple news outlets: “[He] then said, ‘He called my friend the f-word.’ ” The report does not specify to which word Conor was referring.
Officials say he was booked on a charge of municipal disorderly conduct, reportedly a misdemeanor-level offense, and later released with a court summons.
His court date is set for Feb. 22. He has not entered a plea.