A 39-year-old man was arrested after he snatched up a teen boy without notice and slammed him head-first into the ground for not taking his cap off during the national anthem.
Curt James Brockway is facing a felony assault of a minor charge in Montana for picking up a 13-year-old boy and slamming him with force to the pavement at the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo, reports The Missoulian and CBS News.
Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone said the unidentified teen was rushed to the hospital where the severity of the injuries was diagnosed. The boy suffered a temporal skull fracture and a concussion, requiring him to be flown to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington, according to The Missoulian.
By car, Mineral County would have been more than a two-hour drive to Spokane.
Witnesses had trouble reconciling the boy’s alleged faux pas and Brockway’s rationale for fracturing the teen’s skull.
“He said (the boy) was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that,” eyewitness Taylor Hennick recalled Brockway saying. Brockway told authorities the boy also cussed at him, though Hennick said she did not remember that part of Brockway’s story.
Hennick said she responded when she heard a “pop” as the anthem began and recognized the boy as the neighbor of a family member.
“There was a little boy lying on the ground,” Hennick told the Missoulian. “He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent.”
The boy, who has since been released from the hospital to continue the healing process, told the local TV station that he lost consciousness when he was slammed to the ground.
“It’s just a lot of pain in my head. I don’t remember anything — the rodeo, the helicopter, nothing,” the unnamed teen told CBS affiliate KPAX.
According to Mineral County authorities, Brockway has a rap sheet and is still serving a 10-year probation sentence for an old assault charge involving a weapon. He also had to register as a violent offender with the Montana Department of Justice’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry.
Despite the vicious affront to the boy and his police record, Brockway was allowed to walk out of the jail on his own recognizance.
Brockway’s arraignment is reportedly scheduled for Aug. 14.