BIRMINGHAM, Alabama–CNN claims “several attendees” at a Trump campaign event in Birmingham, Alabama “punched and kicked a protester who tried to disrupt Trump’s speech.”
CNN offered this account of the incident:
At least a half-dozen attendees shoved and tackled the protester, a black man, to the ground as he refused to leave the event. At least one man punched the protester and a woman kicked him while he was on the ground.
All of the attendees who were involved in the physical altercation with the protester were white…
The protester appeared to be shouting “black lives matter” and later removed his sweatshirt to reveal a shirt with those words.
At least one attendee shouted “all lives matter” as the protester was eventually led out by police officers on the scene.
Birmingham Police Lt. Sean Edwards told CNN that three people were asked to leave the event following the scuffle. No arrests were made, and the protester did not require medical attention.
A close look at the video offered by CNN to substantiate its account, however, does not appear to show “one man punch[ing] the protester,” or “a woman kick[ing] him while he was on the ground.”
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
The video begins with the protester on the ground who, as he rises to get up, throws a punch, which fails to connect with any members of the crowd. One attendee, wearing a blue and white shirt and khaki pants, assumes a boxing stance in response, but that appears to be primarily a defensive mechanism.
That attendee does not throw a punch on the CNN video, but one man, presumably a member of the security team, is seen waving the man in the boxing stance away from the protester. It is unclear how the black protester ended up on the ground.
People were standing next to each other in very close proximity all throughout the event, and especially in the front area close to Trump where the incident took place. Most in the large crowd of 10,000 were unaware of the incident until several minutes after the protester began shouting, when several security officers were seen escorting the protester, a large black man who appeared to be about 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds in weight, out of the event held in the North Exhibition Hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
The incident began at the front of the crowd, on the far right, about 50 yards to the left of Trump as he delivered his speech. Breitbart News was at the event, filming Trump’s speech from the media risers in the center of the North Exhibition Hall about 200 yards from the speakers podium. Breitbart News did not see or capture on video the events prior to the escorting of the protester out of the hall.
Breitbart News did, however, witness the protester as he was being escorted out remove one shirt, revealing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt underneath. About one minute before the large black man wearing the Black Lives Matter shirt was removed from the event, Breitbart News witnessed what appeared to be a black woman being escorted from the building by security personnel along the same path that was subsequently followed by the man wearing the Black Lives Matter shirt.
Since the Birmingham Police said three individuals were asked to leave the event, it is possible that two of those asked to leave were the protesters and one was an attendee. As no charges were filed against either the protesters or attendees, whether or not punches were thrown and kicks delivered appears to be a matter of speculation.
The protester and the security guards, however, can be seen in the Breitbart News video below, beginning at the five second mark and ending at the 23 second mark: