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Man assaulted after St. Paul Trump protest urges calm

ST. PAUL -- A man who police say was assaulted Wednesday by a group walking in a St. Paul protest against Donald Trump said he understood the reasons for the anger but wanted to urge calm.

ST. PAUL - A man who police say was assaulted Wednesday by a group walking in a St. Paul protest against Donald Trump said he understood the reasons for the anger but wanted to urge calm.

“I’m all for people expressing themselves, I don’t like Donald Trump either, but everybody calm down. Let’s not hurt each other,” said the man, who asked not to be identified because he feared for his safety. “Please put this in your story: If we hurt each other and destroy our community, then Donald Trump and the racists win.”

Police were called to Regions Hospital about 10:30 p.m. and found the man with a badly bruised and swollen face. He told the Pioneer Press he had a fractured cheek. He had recently undergone mouth surgery, and being repeatedly punched in the face didn’t help.

The 42-year-old man told police he had just gotten off a light-rail train at the Green Line’s Dale Street stop and was walking on University Avenue, cutting through a McDonald’s parking lot near Marion Avenue, when he was approached by four people.

He said the four - three young black men and a young white woman - had been walking in the middle of University Avenue at the tail end of the protest, and the crowd was thinning out.

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One of the men wore a camouflage bandana around his face. Cars were driving the wrong way down University and “it was chaos,” he said, adding, “I think it was a small group of people just looking to hurt someone.”

One of the four accused him of voting for Trump, and the man replied that he had not. They then accused him of sympathizing with police, and the man said he didn’t have a problem with police, had never been arrested and had no reason to dislike them.

“I support the police; they do a lot of good work,” the man said.

The group continued being aggressive, so he told them he was gay and made a habit of not judging others because he didn’t want to be judged. He said he used the revelation as a defense, hoping it would allow them to relate to him.

“I told them, you’re barking up the wrong tree,” he said.

Two of the men then hurled slurs about the man’s sexuality and punched him in the face repeatedly, and he ran. He said the group then continued walking down University.

Police have made no arrests for the incident.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds marched down University Avenue from the state Capitol in St. Paul.

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Similar protests erupted across the country in response to the Republican Trump’s upset victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

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