SOUTH SHORE — South Shore pastor Jedidiah Brown has been laying low since cable news broadcast images of him storming the stage at Friday’s Donald Trump rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Brown said he didn’t plan to rush the stage or get into a fist fight with a Trump supporter, all of which were caught on camera and have gone viral online.
“I wanted to see if the things they say in the media is really what a Trump rally is like,” Brown said Monday.
Brown said he’s been inundated with death threats on his phone and social media accounts since the rally. He said he reported the threats to police.
“One guy told me he would take me and my entire family out to preserve America,” Brown said. “I’m not concerned about it because I know they’re not going to come to the South Side of Chicago.”
Brown said he wasn’t planning to rush the stage until minutes before he did so.
“When I was standing in line for the concession stand, I was asked if I was going to pay for it with welfare,” Brown said. “I looked at the guy and said, ‘This kind of hatred can’t go unchallenged,’ and then I bolted for the stage.”
Brown can been seen on the stage at the 0:23 mark in this video.
He said he ripped up a Trump sign on stage while security tried to keep him from getting to the microphone at the podium intended for Trump. Video shows him struggling with guards while he ripped up the sign, and you can hear people booing and see a hand waving a middle finger at the stage.
“I was telling them America is already great without hatred,” Brown said.
He said security released him at the front of the stage in a large group of Trump supporters and someone threw an open water bottle at him and a man tried to grab him from behind to put him in a chokehold.
Brown said he punched the man, who has yet to be identified, and security again grabbed him.
“Why was it I wasn’t arrested and taken to jail? They saw what they were doing to us and we were defending ourselves,” Brown said.
He said he was held by UIC police for approximately 40 minutes, but was released.
Brown said he’s not planning to go into work for several days until the threats lighten up, but he said he will be out on Tuesday for the Illinois Primary Election to take voters to the polls.
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