Man Charged with Attacking Boy Who Was 'Disrespecting' National Anthem by Not Removing Hat
The 13-year-old boy was reportedly taken to the hospital for a possible concussion and fractured skull
A Montana man who apparently took issue with a 13-year-old boy’s decision to leave his hat on during the national anthem has been arrested for allegedly assaulting the boy in a vicious attack that fractured his skull.
Curt James Brockway, 39, was arrested Saturday night by Mineral County Sheriff’s deputies after the altercation at the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo, The Missoulian reports.
A witness told the outlet she was at the fairgrounds entrance and had paused for the national anthem when she heard a “pop” and looked over to see the boy seizing on the ground and bleeding out of his ears.
“[The man] said he was disrespecting the national anthem, so he had every right to do it,” the witness alleged.
Brockway told a sheriff’s deputy that he had asked the boy to remove the hat prior to the national anthem, but received a curse word in response, according to court documents filed by Mineral County Attorney Ellen Donohue and obtained by the Associated Press.
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He then took the boy by the throat, “lifted him into the air and slammed the boy into the ground,” the documents said.
Donohue also wrote that while a witness confirmed most of Brockway’s description of the incident, the witness did not hear his initial request for the boy to take the hat off.
Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone said the boy was taken by ambulance to a hospital, and was later flown to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, according to The Missoulian.
“It’s just a lot of pain. I don’t remember anything – the rodeo, the helicopter. Nothing,” the victim, who has been released from the hospital, told CBS/CW affiliate KPAX.
Court documents say the boy was treated for a possible concussion and fractured skull.
The Missoulian reports Brockway appeared in Mineral County Justice Court in Monday, and was scheduled to be released on his own recognizance on Tuesday.
Online records show he was no longer in custody as of Wednesday.
Online records from the Montana Department of Justice’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry also show Brockway is registered as a violent offender.
He was previously convicted for a 2010 charge of assault with a weapon, and was sentenced to 10 years of probation, records show.
Brockway’s arraignment is reportedly scheduled for Aug. 14.
His attorney Lance Jasper did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.