Rand Paul’s neighbors are calling into question reports suggesting the Kentucky senator’s character and libertarianism contributed to one member of their community allegedly attacking him at his home in Bowling Green, KY, last week.
Police arrested Paul’s long-time neighbor, 59-year-old retired doctor Rene Boucher, and charged him with fourth-degree assault after he allegedly blindsided the senator, who was reportedly mowing his lawn.
In an update Wednesday, Paul tweeted that a “final report indicates six broken ribs & new X-ray shows a pleural effusion [build up of fluid around the lungs]”
Previous reports stated that Paul suffered five broken ribs and lacerations to his lungs.
In a recent USA Today report, the developer of Paul’s Rivergreen neighborhood described Boucher as a “near-perfect” neighbor, but that “the libertarian politician is a different story”.
Jim Skaggs paints a picture of Paul as a libertarian property rights zealot who “was probably the hardest person to encourage to follow the (homeowner’s association regulations) of anyone out here because he has a strong belief in property rights.”
“There have been disagreements in the past, Skaggs said, over lawn clippings or who should cut down a tree branch when it stretched over a property line,” reports USA Today.
Many of Paul’s neighbors, however, disagree with these reports:
“As a friend and neighbor of the Paul family, I have been disturbed by the inaccuracies in numerous media accounts of the assault that occurred on Friday, November 3rd,” writes Travis Creed in an email to Breitbart News. “The stories of a ‘landscaping dispute’, or a dispute of any sort between Rand Paul and Rene Boucher are erroneous and unfounded. The reason for Mr. Boucher’s bizarre attack is known only to him. Statements to the contrary are irresponsible and unnecessary.”
This speculation regarding Boucher’s motive, Creed says “has led to an unfair characterization of the Pauls and their home.”
“The Pauls are and always have been great neighbors and friends. They take pride in their property and maintain it accordingly. Rand has enjoyed working on and maintaining his lawn for as long as I have known him. He was attacked on his property for no apparent reason and suffered serious injury. That is the only fact known at this time.”
“The Senator and his wife Kelley are great people who would never harm anyone in any way,” says Danny Renshaw, another neighbor who says he has lived in the same neighborhood as the Pauls for 17 years.
Renshaw is appalled by the attack. “This is so wrong, for anyone to be blindsided and attacked while mowing their yard. I cannot imagine being in my yard pulling weeds or mowing and being violently attacked by anyone, much less my neighbor?” he tells Breitbart News.
“I can’t believe he was out of jail on a 7,500 bail Saturday morning,” Renshaw adds. “However, this is not me that was attacked, this is one of 100 U.S. Senators of the United States. What kind of person does that?”
Expressing the same concern, Alicia Stivers writes, “As neighbors and close personal friends of the Pauls for almost a quarter of a century, I have never heard Senator Paul speak an unkind word about anyone, let alone become physically violent. Which makes it all the more shocking that a next-door neighbor of many years who has not so much as exchanged an email or spoken word with Rand in several years, would race downhill and pummel Rand from behind.”
“The Pauls own a lovely, wooded lakeside lot in our small subdivision,” Stivers continues. “In fact, the Pauls’ lot looks almost exactly the same today as it did 17 years ago when Dr. Boucher and his ex-wife chose their lot and built their house next door.”
“Between us, my husband and I have served four years on the neighborhood homeowners association board and we are unaware of any conflict or complaints from Dr. Boucher regarding the Pauls. Whatever the ‘reason’ for this attack on Rand, there is absolutely no justification for Dr. Boucher’s behavior,” she adds.
“I am wondering how the media can describe what took place as an altercation? Is it an altercation when no words are exchanged and one person is attacked from behind with no warning? I must check my dictionary.”
Shawn Parker has also served on Rivergreen’s homeowners association board for several years. Describing Mr. and Mrs. Paul as “very gracious & friendly”, he tells a similar account of the Pauls’ history with the board:
“My family has lived here for 6 years now,” he says. “In all the years that I have been on board we have never had any complaints at all [regarding the Pauls]… No complaints from other neighbors about the Pauls, nor [have] the Pauls had complaints against anyone else.”
“I pass by their house every day as my family lives diagonally across the street from them,” Parker adds. “When we see Rand out riding his bike or Kelley out walking in the beautiful neighborhood we live in they have always waved or even stopped to say hello. This is a wonderful family and an honor to have Kentucky’s state Senator living near us.”
“What I find amazing is the fact that he cuts his own grass,” writes neighbor Bob Warner. Bob and his wife Gayla have known the Pauls for twenty years. “Our neighborhood is fortunate that the Pauls live here,” he tells Breitbart News, “They are always engaging during their frequent walks through the neighborhood.”
“Our sons are friends with their sons and we have been on skiing trips as well as meet with them socially. As a friend, neighbor and Senator; Rand has been first class in every way.”
While the senator splits his time between Kentucky and Washington, DC, the Pauls appear to be still very much part of the neighborhood community. Their “Paul Family Football Game” is a neighborhood tradition, says Kevin and Diona Kelly.
“Rand and his family welcome any and all neighbors, whether you choose to be a player, a cheerleader or a self-appointed referee you are part of a team.”
“We commend Rand for balancing his demanding political role with his role as a neighbor and friend,” the Kellys continue. “Never too busy to stop while on his walks with Kelley or to wave as he rides his bicycle in the neighborhood or his mower on his yard. It is a pleasure to call him our neighbor and friend.”
In a statement provided to Breitbart News, Rina Malmquist, the current Rivergreen homeowners association president, says: “I have been friends and neighbors with the Pauls since we moved to Bowling Green in 2001. We have enjoyed being neighbors with the Pauls. Our children are great friends and we have made many happy memories with them.”
Voter records from March show Boucher registered as a Democrat this year, but, according to his lawyer Monday, politics had nothing to do with the dispute.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he expects his fellow Kentuckian will be back to work in Washington as early as next week.
Update: Another Paul family neighbor, Lidija Loik, reached out, saying:
“My family is relatively new to Bowling Green Kentucky, having moved from Canada three years ago. The Pauls have offered their kindness and friendship to us. Their support while we settle into a new life was and continues to be a blessing. Both Rand and Kelley focus importance on community and friendship and their home is warm, loving and the door open to new friends and old. The Paul family should be highly regarded for the kindness they show and how they continue to embrace all those that cross their path.”
Amanda House is Breitbart News’ Deputy Political Editor. You can follow her on Twitter at @AmandaLeeHouse.
Editor’s Note: this story has been updated.