15-year-old girl pepper sprayed, groped at protest outside Trump rally

Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 17:51:41-04

JANESVILLE, Wis. —A 15-year-old girl protesting outside of a Donald Trump rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday was pepper-sprayed and allegedly groped by people in the crowd.

The incident was captured on cellphone video.

A news release from the Janesville Police Department described the incident, which also left a 19-year-old woman struck by “2nd hand spray.” Both the 15-year-old and 19-year-old received medical treatment at hospitals, police said in the news release.

Police told USA Today that the girl was pepper sprayed by a non-law enforcement person in the crowd outside of a Holiday Inn Express.

In video posted on social media of the tense scene, the young woman appears to be arguing with someone and appears to shove or punch at the person before the pepper spray was deployed. She appeared to be holding a sign that accuses Trump of supporting white supremacy, and is standing next to another young woman holding Black Lives Matter sign. Others in the crowd could be heard chanting, “All lives matter.”

“A male in the crowd groped the 15-year-girl; when she pushed him away, another person in the (crowd) sprayed her,” the police department said in a statement. “We are currently looking for two suspects, one for the sexual assault and one for the pepper spray.”

Six protesters were arrested a day earlier at the hotel, after a group of about 60 occupied the lobby.

The six had used PVC pipe to link their arms and had to be separated by police.

Complete news release from the Janesville Police Department: 

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a rally at the Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Convention Center on Tuesday March 29, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. At the same time protesters gathered outside the Holiday Inn Express for a freedom of speech event.

The intent of the Janesville Police Department was to facilitate the constitutional rights of free speech and assembly in a safe and nonviolent environment. For the most part, we were successful.

Monday night March 28, 2016 six protesters were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing an officer, and trespass after refusing to leave the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express as part of an anti-Donald Trump protest. The protesters identified themselves as belonging to the group Showing Up for Racial Injustice. The group had locked themselves together inside of PVC piping before occupying the lobby area. Approximately 60 other protesters that had entered the lobby left the hotel at the request of police.

Over 350 officers from 20 different agencies were assigned in traffic control, perimeter control, crowd control, and tactical support.

Today’s event consisted of 1,000 attendees to the rally inside the Holiday Inn Express and 1,000 attendees outside the Holiday Inn Express consisting of both supporters and protesters.

Two persons concealed carried weapons, and two persons open carried weapons, all four were cooperative with law enforcement.

A 15 year girl from Janesville was peppered sprayed in the crowd by a non-law enforcement person. A 19 year old woman from Madison received 2nd hand spray as well. Both individuals received medical attention at local hospitals. A male in the crown groped the 15 year girl, when she pushed him away; another person in the crown sprayed her. We are currently looking for two suspects, one for the sexual assault and one for the pepper spray.

A good share of the Trump protestors left the area before Donald Trump spoke at the rally inside the Holiday Inn Express.

Two suspicious packages were found, we were able to investigate them both and they were cleared.

A vehicle was left abandoned in the middle of the street. There was concern there was an explosive device in the vehicle. While law enforcement personnel were processing the vehicle, the vehicle owner returned to the vehicle, they had left the vehicle in the street to get food. No explosive device was found.