A 13-year-old Montana boy was brutally attacked by a man at a local fairground this weekend for allegedly not removing his hat during the playing of the national anthem. The teen had reportedly just been dropped off at the Mineral County Fairgrounds by his mother when he was attacked.
Witnesses stated that the national anthem had just begun to play when the alleged attack happened. According to reports, 39-year-old Curt James Brockway had asked the teen to remove his hat shortly after the anthem began. Court documents state that the teen cursed at Brockway, who then allegedly "lifted him into the air and slammed the boy into the ground."
Taylor Hennick was at the fair and told NBC News that she had paused for the national anthem when she heard something unusual. "Then I looked over because I heard a `pop' and this man had grabbed this little boy by the neck and slammed him to the ground," Hennick said. "I saw it from the corner of my eye."
"He was definitely bleeding out of his ears; he was scared," Hennick added. “He seemed shocked and out of it and wondering why he was being hit."
Hennick added that Brockway was justifying his actions to the crowd that had gathered, saying the teen "was disrespecting the national anthem by wearing this hat. I heard him saying that in front of a lot of people," Hennick said. "People were just shocked."
Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone told the Missoulian that the teen was initially taken to a local hospital, but his injuries were severe enough he was transferred to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Spokane. Mineral County Attorney Ellen Donohue said there was a concern of a possible concussion and skull fracture.
A 39-year-old Superior man was jailed this weekend for allegedly assaulting a 13-year-old boy he believed, according to one witness, had disrespected the national anthem. #mtnews https://t.co/AzbS8VMobF— Missoulian (@missoulian) August 6, 2019
Mary Keeler is the boy's mother and told MTN News that her son has no recollection of the attack. "He doesn’t remember anything. All the witnesses I have talked to said this was completely random. There was no exchange ― nothing!" She added that her son bled from his ears for six hours after the attack. The teen also added that he doesn't remember what happened to him. "It’s just a lot of pain in my head. I don’t remember anything – the rodeo – the helicopter – nothing," he said.
Brockway was arrested on Saturday, and during his initial court hearing on Monday, the judge dismissed the request by the State for bail to be set at $100,000 and released Brockway on his own recognizance despite being listed on a registry for violent offenders. The Missoulian reports that Brockway is currently serving a 10-year probation sentence for assault with a weapon from 2010.