Teenager Charged With Assault After Attacking 81-year-old Wearing MAGA Hat

By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter

March 1, 2019

Make America Great Again hat

A 19-year-old man has been charged with assault after he allegedly attacked an 81-year-old man who was wearing a "Make America Great Again Hat" at a grocery store in Somerset, New Jersey, authorities announced Thursday.

Franklin Township police were called out to the grocery store after receiving reports of a fight on Monday. When they arrived, they found an 81-year-old man who had several minor injuries. The elderly man told police he was on his way out the store after finishing his shopping, when a young man, later identified as Ryan Salvagno, began confronting him over the "Make America Great Again" hat he was wearing.

The victim told police after a brief verbal dispute with the boy, he attempted to leave, but as the 81-year-old turned to walk away, the teenager grabbed the older man's hat and a struggle ensued. Salvagno allegedly took the victim by his arm and threw him to the ground, tipping over the 81-year-old's groceries. The 19-year-old then threw the victim's hat to the side.

MAGA hats were made popular by President Donald Trump during his campaign for president in 2016 and they've become a point of contention for many. Some bars and restaurants have banned people from wearing the red hat inside their place of business. One woman from Brazil was arrested two weeks ago after she allegedly accosted a man wearing the headwear at a Mexican restaurant in Massachusetts.

After a brief investigation, officers identified Salvagno as the person who confronted the victim and took him into custody on charges of assault and harassment.

Salvagno is due back in court for an arraignment on March 14.

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February 27, 2019  News Release  Man arrested in assault of 81-year old man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat FRANKLIN TWP., N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Franklin Township Chief of Police Richard Grammar announced the arrest of Ryan M. Salvagno, age 19 of Amwell Road, Somerset, New Jersey. Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Monday, February 25, 2019, at approximately 3:24 PM the Franklin Township Police Department received a call reporting a dispute at a grocery store on Elizabeth Avenue.  Upon arrival, officers found the 81-year old victim suffering from minor injuries.  He indicated that after purchasing his groceries and exiting the store, he was confronted by a male, later identified as defendant Salvagno, regarding his “Make America Great Again” hat.  A brief verbal confrontation ensued, after which the victim attempted to leave the area.  As the victim turned to walk away, defendant Salvagno was able to grab the victim’s hat and the two struggled for sole possession of the hat. Salvagno then took the victim by the arm and threw him to the ground, tipping over the victim’s cart of groceries and ultimately throwing the hat to the side. After conducting an investigation, law enforcement officers were able to positively identify defendant Salvagno as the person who confronted the victim.  Charges of assault, a disorderly person’s offense and harassment, a petty disorderly person’s offense were filed in the Franklin Township Municipal Court.  Defendant Salvagno is scheduled for arraignment on March 14, 2019. Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Chief Grammar request anyone with information to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS...

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