In the incident, which was caught on camera, a female riding in a passenger seat in a passing gray Nissan Titan reportedly yelled at Charles Brownett, the man holding the yellow sign, “Why don’t you leave America?”
Brownett yelled in response, “Give me some money!”
The driver of the Titan, the man in the orange shirt, then pulled into a nearby McDonald’s parking lot before walking over to Brownett. He reportedly said to Brownett, “Actually, I like that sign, give it to me.”
The two then struggled over the sign, wrestling each other to the ground.
The female passenger then walked over to the scuffle and began kicking Brownett.
A fourth man came over to stop the fight, but the man in orange continued to punch the man in the face with a closed fist, according to witnesses.
Investigators have identified the two attackers, but no charges have been filed at this time.
Authorities said the man with the sign will not face any charges because he was exercising his right to freedom of speech peacefully in a public area and not blocking traffic.
Investigators have since identified the pair that began the scuffle with Brownett, although their names have not been publicly released. No charges have yet been filed as the deputies had not yet made contact with the couple, according to WOKV-TV. But the suspects could face up to a year in jail for battery charges, WJAX reported. Brownett, however, will face no charges, because according to authorities, he was exercising his right to freedom of speech as he peacefully stood in a public area posing no obvious threat to passersby or to ongoing traffic.
Brownett’s sign and the issue of freedom of speech at play in this incident caused a stir amongst witnesses and social media users.
“He is in public area, where he has a right to be. He’s expressing an opinion that is his,” said Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson. “If he were encouraging some sort of violence or using prohibited language like the ‘F’ word or the ‘N’ word, then that could have had other ramifications.”
“He got what he deserved,” one female witness told WJAX. “Come on, it’s America, you’re not going to hold a sign with all the terroristic attacks going around the world. No.”
The man holding the sign was making a death threat to each and every American citizen. Why was violence not a licit response?
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