Montana authorities have charged a man with assault after witnesses say he picked up a 13-year-old boy and threw him to the ground because he believed the boy had disrespected the American national anthem by not removing his hat.
Curt James Brockway, 39, of Superior, is accused of assaulting the boy at the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo at around 11 p.m. on Saturday, reports WCJB.
“There was a little boy lying on the ground,” Taylor Hennick, who was as the rodeo, told Missoulian. “He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent.”
“He said [the boy] was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that,” Hennick said about Brockway’s attempt to justify his actions to nearby fairgoers.
The unnamed boy’s parents said his ears bled for six hours after the incident and that his skull was fractured.
The boy was rushed by air ambulance to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane.
“It’s just a lot of pain in my head. I don’t remember anything—the rodeo, the helicopter—nothing,” the boy, who is now recovering at home, told the station.
Brockway, who is a registered violent offender with and has a previous assault with a weapon charge from 2011, will be released on his own recognizance Tuesday.