Man Assaults 13-Year-Old Boy For Not Taking Hat Off During National Anthem

Photo: Montana Department of Corrections
Who Is Curt James Brockway? New Details On Man Who Assaulted 13-Year-Old Boy For Not Taking Hat Off During National Anthem

“America” and patriotism means things like bald eagles, hotdogs and burgers, the flag, apple pie, baseball, McDonald’s, and... assault? And while violence for the sake of self-defense is acceptable to most, in this case, it’s completely unconscionable — and had nothing to do with self-defense.

Who is Curt James Brockway? Brockway, a 39-year-old man from Montana, was arrested on suspicion of felony assault on a minor on August 3rd for attacking a 13-year-old boy. The reason? He didn't take his hat off for the national anthem.

At the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo, the young boy left his hat on during the national anthem, and because it was “disrespectful,” Brockway thought he had the right to put his hands on another person, causing a possible concussion and fractured skull to the 13-year-old boy.

Because nothing says “I respect America” like beating up a child.

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According to a witness who was at the fairgrounds entrance, she heard a “pop” and noticed the boy seizing on the ground and bleeding from his ears. Said the witness, “[The man] said he was disrespecting the national anthem, so he had every right to do it.”

Another witness, identified as Taylor Hennick, spoke to NBC News, saying, “He was definitely bleeding out of his ears; he was scared. He seemed shocked and out of it and wondering why he was being hit. Then I looked over and this man had grabbed this little boy by the neck and slammed him to the ground. I saw it from the corner of my eye. [He said the boy] was disrespecting the national anthem by wearing this hat. I heard him saying that in front of a lot of people. People were just shocked.”

Brockway told the sheriff’s deputy that he asked the boy to take his hat off, but the boy cursed at him. Then, according to court documents, he grabbed the boy by the throat and “lifted him into the air and slammed the boy into the ground.” 

The victim spoke to KPAX, revealing how the ordeal affected him. “It’s just a lot of pain. I don’t remember anything — the rodeo, the helicopter. Nothing,” he said. He’s since been released from the hospital, left with temporal fractures and bleeding from his ears for six hours after the attack.

Photo: KPAX

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As of August 7th, Brockway is no longer in custody and was released on his own recognizance after a judge denied a request from prosecution to impose a $100,000 bond. He must follow a list of conditions, including a home arrest at his parents, GPS monitoring, no alcohol or drug use, and no contact with witnesses.

The icing on top of the cake? Brockway was already registered as a violent offender. He was convicted in 2010 on a charge of assault with a weapon and was sentenced to 10 years of probation. So, no, it’s not his first instance of being violent.

According to Mineral County Attorney, Ellen Donohue, Brockway’s release is a concern for the community. “Defense Counsel argued persuasively, it appears, that the Defendant has strong and life-long ties to the community (so he was not a flight risk), and that conditions could be put in place to afford the community an appropriate measure of safety,” she said.

Photo: KPAX

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Over the last few years, individuals and athletes have been taking a knee and protesting the national anthem in response to police brutality and racism. And though this young boy was not protesting in anyway (plus, it’s not illegal to wear a hat during the National Anthem), Brockway thought it was the "right" thing to do. 

Trump has tweeted more than three dozen times regarding athletes kneeling since he was inaugurated. Yet, it’s not surprising that he missed the mark completely. Respect is taught but in this case, it’s clear Brockway doesn’t know the meaning of it; putting your hands on someone else is not respect — it's assault.

Folks, forced patriotism isn’t patriotism — it’s fascism.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.