A Montana man has been arrested for allegedly slamming a child to the ground because the boy did not remove his hat during as the national anthem played, officials said.
Curt Brockway, 39, was charged with felony assault of a minor after allegedly fracturing the skull of a 13-year-old boy whom witnesses said he grabbed, picked up and smashed into the ground at the Mineral County Fairgrounds Saturday, MTN News reported.
“[Brockway] said [the boy] was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that,” witness Taylor Hennick told the Missoulian.
Hennick said she first heard the sound of the child being slammed before seeing how injured he was.
“There was a little boy lying on the ground,” she said. “He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent.”
The teen suffered temporal skull fractures that left him bleeding from his ears for nearly six hours and without any memory of the attack, the victim said.
“It’s just a lot of pain in my head,” the boy told MTN News. “I don’t remember anything – the rodeo, the helicopter, nothing.”
The boy was rushed to a local hospital before being flown to Spokane for further treatment. He has since been released from the hospital and is continuing to recover at home, his parents told the television station.
Brockway was taken into custody Saturday night.
Authorities said Brockway told them he asked the boy to remove his hat out of respect for the national anthem and the boy cursed at him in response, to which Brockway responded by attacking the child, the Associated Press reported.
Brockway made his initial court appearance Monday in Mineral County, where the state requested his bond be set at $100,000, but a judge instead ruled he could be released on his own recognizance.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 14.
Brockway in 2011 pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon. Further details in that case were not immediately available. He is also registered as a violent offender, records show.