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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