10 02 2014
  5:29 am  
     •     

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The volunteer with Rand Paul's Republican U.S. Senate campaign who stepped on the head of a liberal activist and pinned her face to the concrete said Tuesday the scuffle was not as bad as it looked on video and blamed police for not intervening.

"I'm sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand's safety," Tim Profitt told The Associated Press.

A judge will decide whether Profitt should face criminal charges.

Lauren Valle, the 23-year-old activist with the group MoveOn.org, said her face was swollen and her neck and shoulder were sore after she was wrestled to the ground by Paul supporters Monday night before a debate between the tea party favorite and Democrat Jack Conway.

Valle was roughed up as she tried to give Paul a fake "employee of the month" award. She told police she was assaulted while trying to take a picture with Paul.

The race is one of the most closely watched and hotly contested in the midterm elections.

"I think that this is an extreme example of the kinds of sentiments that people are feeling in many races across the country," Valle said. "I think that tension is incredibly high."

Paul's campaign dropped Profitt as campaign coordinator in Bourbon County in central Kentucky and banned him from future events.

Lexington Division of Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Tuesday that officers will deliver a summons to Profitt to appear in court. A judge will determine whether to proceed with an assault case.

Profitt said the fight never would have occurred if police officers had intervened earlier.

"A friend of mine went up to three policeman before Rand got there, and told them about the girl who was standing there with that wig on and that she was getting ready to do something," Profitt said. "The policemen looked at him and said that's not our job."

Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said Profitt's actions were unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

"The Paul campaign has disassociated itself with the individual who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind."

Paul's campaign called the altercation "incredibly unfortunate" and expressed relief that the woman was not injured.

Conway said he was shocked to see the video footage.

"We can disagree on issues, and I don't know what preceded the incident, but physical violence by a man against a woman must never be tolerated," Conway said in a statement. "It is my hope that steps have been taken to ensure this kind of thuggish behavior never happens again in this campaign."

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