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Trump Protester 'Blindsided' Police Officer at Rally Friday: Prosecutors

By Alex Nitkin | March 13, 2016 10:13am | Updated on March 14, 2016 8:36am
 Sohaan Goss (l.), 21, and Sergio Giraldo, 23, were charged with aggravated battery of a police officer.
Sohaan Goss (l.), 21, and Sergio Giraldo, 23, were charged with aggravated battery of a police officer.
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Getty; CPD

CHICAGO — Three men and a woman were formally charged after being arrested at Friday's canceled Donald Trump rally at UIC Pavilion, according to a police notice issued Saturday night.

Sohaan Goss, 21, and Sergio Giraldo, 23, were both charged with felony aggravated battery of a police officer, according to the notice. But supporters who attended bond court said the two faced "trumped-up" charges, and people from across the country had donated to help them make bail.

Violence broke out when Trump's staff announced they were calling off the event a half hour after it was supposed to begin. Prosecutors said police were inside the arena trying to "control the crowd" when Goss "blindsided" a police sergeant by punching him in the side of his face, causing "swelling to his face and head."

 Thousands of attendees and protesters clashed after Donald Trump abruptly canceled his UIC Pavilion rally Friday night.
Thousands of attendees and protesters clashed after Donald Trump abruptly canceled his UIC Pavilion rally Friday night.
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DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay

When the sergeant handcuffed Goss, he "kicked and pushed away," according to a police report.

READ MORE: Protesters, Police Report Injuries Outside Canceled Trump Rally

In addition to one count of battery of a police officer, Goss was charged with five misdemeanor counts of obstruction and resisting arrest.

An attorney representing Goss identified him as a White Castle employee with no criminal background who was simply "exercising his First Amendment rights" Friday.

Prosecutors said Giraldo, meanwhile, was part of a "large-scale disturbance" outside the rally at the corner of Van Buren Street and Racine Avenue.

When an officer approached Giraldo and others "fighting and blocking the street," the police report read, Giraldo knocked his shoulder into the officer and said "f--- you, m-----f-----." He then "took up a fighting stance, raising his fists in a menacing manner," the report said.

When the officer tried to arrest him, the report read, Giraldo planted his feet and thrashed around. He knocked his shoulder into another officer's "lower jaw and upper chest, causing pain," it read.

Giraldo was charged with two counts of aggravated battery of an officer, one felony count of obstruction and two misdemeanor counts of obstruction and resisting arrest.

An attorney representing Giraldo identified him as a married chef with a 3-year-old daughter.

Bond was set at $50,000 for each man, meaning that each would need $5,000 to make bail. Representatives of the Chicago Community Bond Fund who attended the hearing said their group would pay for both men before the end of the day.

Max Suchon, a volunteer with the bond fund, said a donation page was set up after the men were arrested Friday and "donations have been pouring in from all over the country since then."

Timothy Bradford, 21, and Kathleen Griffin, 45, were also charged with misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing an officer. Bradford was seen at the protest being beaten by police after a shoving match in the crowd.

The three men all live in Chicago, police said, but Griffin's residence is listed in Barbeau, Mich.

Charges were not announced for CBS News reporter Sopan Deb, who was also detained amid the turmoil of the rally.

During the hearing Sunday, dozens of activists filled the courthouse lobby to show support for those who were arrested. They included activist William Calloway, who said he was arrested by university police at the rally and charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

RELATED: What Presidential Candidates Said About Canceled Trump Rally in Chicago

The rally was "something like I've never seen before — it speaks to how strong a dislike of Trump there is," Calloway said. "And it speaks to the character of [Trump], being someone who incites riots by telling violent people that he'll have their back."

On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Trump said he would consider paying legal fees for a supporter who was charged for punching a protester at one of his rallies.

Calloway added that he believed Goss and Giraldo faced "trumped up charges," which he blamed partially on Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

"That's what she does to protesters," he said of Alvarez, who will face reelection challenges from Kim Foxx and Donna Moore Tuesday.

According to Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, two arrests were made at the rally by CPD, one made by State Police and two made by UIC police.

In a Saturday statement, UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker said, "The vast majority of attendees at [Friday's] events exercised their Constitutional rights of free speech and free assembly peacefully. The abrupt announcement of the cancellation of the event created challenges in managing an orderly exit from the Pavilion."

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