JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Republican Chairman Dean Black got a little choked up Monday addressing the media. He and members of the local and state GOP gathered at party headquarters to discuss an attack on some of their volunteers Saturday at Walmart in the Sandalwood area.
"We are outraged," Black said repeatedly as he slammed his hand on the podium. "You should not have to fear physical injury, or worse, to express political beliefs in America.
"This is not who we are. This is un-American," Black said during a scheduled news conference where he was flanked by party members, including Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
"We are thankful no one was injured. No one was killed," Black said " ... We are sick and tired of our volunteers here in Jacksonville and across America having to be afraid because of the hat they chose to wear or because of the shirt they put on that day, or because they went to register voters or because they went to support the candidate of their choice.
Gregory William Loel Timm, 27, remained in Duval County jail Monday morning for reportedly driving his van into a tent in the Walmart parking lot that housed Trump supporters registering people to vote. He faces multiple charges, including two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years of age or older, one count of criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license.
"Let's be clear. This was a partisan, political attack. Do not make excuses for him," Black said.
Mayor Curry agreed. "No where in our country, no where in our city, should anyone fear for their physical health because of their political views and political activities regardless of party," he said. "But to be clear, this attack, this attempt, because people were registering voters in support of the President of the United States, that line has been drawn and we're not going to tolerate it."
Black held back tears as he talked about the volunteers. "I thank supporters around the country and I would like to thank President Trump for his instantanious support for us," he said.
Trump sent a tweet of support in the moments after the incident.
Witnesses told JSO that a man in his 20s driving an older brown Chevy van pulled up to the tent before driving through, running over their tables and chairs. Volunteers for the Republican Party were registering people to vote.
After running over chairs and tables, witnesses told police that Timm got out of the van, took a video recording, made obscene gestures and left. No volunteers were hurt, according to JSO.