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Teens detained after altercation at pro-Trump rally in Palm Springs, police say

A Palm Springs police officer holding a shotgun next to a police SUV in 2016
Palm Springs police detained two teenagers Sunday after an altercation was reported at a pro-Trump rally.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Police detained two teenagers after authorities said they assaulted at least two people at a pro-Trump rally over the weekend in Palm Springs.

A car of young people confronted a small group of President Trump’s supporters who were advocating for the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday, and “an altercation ensued” with at least two of the youths, Palm Springs Police Lt. William Hutchinson said.

According to rally organizer Toni Ringlein, the people in the car yelled obscenities at the crowd.

“You could tell they were trying to agitate us,” Ringlein said. “And we don’t engage with them — just, ‘No, go on,’ ” she said.

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Ringlein said that after parking the car near the protesters, the group “came running through the crowd” and started hitting people.

A man participating in the demonstration chased two boys — ages 15 and 13 — to a nearby Home Depot, where another scuffle broke out, police said in a statement.

“The witness who caught up to the juveniles told the juveniles the police were on their way, and at that point, one of the juveniles swung at the witness’s head to hit him,” police said.

The boy then pulled an airsoft pistol from his waistband and struck the man multiple times, according to police. The man managed to knock the pistol from the boy’s hands and hold him until police arrived and detained both juveniles.

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Ringlein said the man, who was not identified by police, suffered some abrasions but was not seriously hurt. Two other demonstrators were assaulted and also had minor injuries, she said.

Violence had never broken out at a rally since her group, Unite 911, began protesting to recall Newsom in June, Ringlein said.

“They were young punks, and that’s really what’s unfortunate,” Ringlein said. “They have no clue why they’re doing it, and now they’ve screwed up their lives.”

Police said they found a 30-round magazine for a Glock 9-millimeter pistol in the 15-year-old’s possession, but he did not have a gun. He was released to his parents at the scene, but Hutchinson said law enforcement is seeking to charge him with possession of a high-capacity magazine. The 13-year-old was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury and was booked into Juvenile Hall in Indio. It was not clear Wednesday whether he remained at the facility.

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A representative of the Riverside County district attorney’s office was not immediately available to comment on whether the boys, who were not identified because of their ages, would be charged.


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