A protester has been arrested after he tried to rush the stage while Donald Trump was speaking during a rally Saturday morning in Dayton, Ohio, authorities say.
Dimassimo was released from custody and is due in court on Monday. His age is listed as 32, but it is not clear if that is correct. His social media pages and public records indicate he was born in 1993, not 1983.
Video, which you can watch above, show a man being taken down by Secret Service agents as Trump spoke at Dayton International Airport.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trump Has Claimed Dimassimo Has Ties to ISIS, but a Video Calling Him an ISIS Sympathizer Appears to be a Troll’s Hoax
Tommy Dimassimo, a student at Wright State University in Dayton, has been an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on social media.
He has also taken part in rallies and protests in the past, including a rally at Wright State in April 2015, when he was recorded dragging an American flag. You can watch video from that protest above.
He captioned the video, “Students at Wright State University #NotMyFlag protest. The protest occurred to stand in solidarity with the symbolic actions of Eric Sheppard.”
Sheppard, a student at Valdosta State University in Georgia, who created national controversy by standing on the American flag during a protest at his campus.
“This is not meant to individually disrespect member of military service for the sacrifices they made for this country,” Dimassimo told WKRC-TV at the event, which ended with the protesters giving the flags to veterans to be properly disposed of. “We are not anti-vet, we are not anti-troops. We are against systematic oppression and structural inequality.”
Dimassimino did post the video footage used in the hoax video, but there are no mentions of ISIS:
Trump tweeted that Dimassimo has ties to ISIS after the video was circulated among his supporters:
The video seems to have been created by a troll, the same person who started a Facebook page called “Tommy dimassimo wasn’t hugged enough as a kid.”
The Arabic caption on the original video appears to be a joke, including a phrase that roughly translates to saying Dimassimo thought he’d be a big man by standing on the American flag, but really has a small penis.
There is no indication that the video was created by ISIS or that Dimassimo is an ISIS supporter, although the video is being used by Trump fans to claim he is, as seen in the tweets below:
2. Dimassimo Was Tackled to the Ground by Secret Service Agents After Jumping a Barricade Behind Trump
Dimassimo was tackled to the ground by Secret Service agents after jumping a barricade, police say.
A video shows Trump reacting as Dimassimo rushes the stage:
Another video shows the Secret Service taking Dimassimo down:
He was dragged out by the agents and police:
Trump told the crowd after the incident, “I was ready for him, but it’s much easier if the cops do it, don’t we agree? And to think I had such an easy life! What do I need this for, right?,” the Washington Post reports.
Police have not said that Dimassimo was armed, despite claims on social media that a Secret Service agent was cut by a knife during the incident.
Trump has had Secret Service protection since November.
3. He Tweeted About Being at the Rally & Asked for ‘Thoughts & Prayers’
Dimassimo, who goes by @YoungLionKing7 on Twitter, tweeted about his plans to disrupt the Trump rally earlier Saturday morning and in the days before.
He has often tweeted about the importance of being a white ally to the Black Lives Matter movement and standing up to “racist” Donald Trump and his supporters.
He also tweeted after being released from jail, writing, “F*ck you b*tch @realdonaldtrump,” along with a photo showing his torn shirt, which you can see above.
You can see one of the tweets below:
Dimassimo previously tweeted that he would “spit” on Trump during the rally. He has since deleted his account.
Here are some of his other tweets about the rally:
4. He Also Taunted Confederate Flag Supporters During a Rally in Georgia Last Year
Tommy Dimassimo also gained national attention when he participated in a counter-protest along with other Black Lives Matter activists during a Confederate flag rally at Stone Mountain in Georgia last summer. You can watch vieo from that below:
He taunted flag supporters by tearing up and stomping on a Confederate flag. During a tense moment, one of the Confederate flag supporters appears to reach for a gun during an confrontation with Dimassimo. He was stopped by a police officer:
“To all my white friends observing my actions, and responding with love and support I thank you. But I feel you may be missing something essential. The POC who stood with me are the true heroes. As a white man I can choose to insert myself into danger when I feel the need to,” he wrote on Facebook after the rally. “That’s privilege. The black women who stood with me are face that same danger when they drive down the street. … I’m here to use my privilege to increase visibility for these type of issues. That doesn’t make me a hero. It makes me a decent human being.”
5. He Is Originally From Georgia & His Mother Is a Public Official in Atlanta
Dimassimo is originally from Powder Springs, Georgia. He is a fourth-year acting major at Wright State.
According to IMDB.com, Dimassimo was a child actor with roles on the TV shows “Yes, Dear,” “Reno 911!,” and “House of Payne.”
In 2015, he played the role of “Killer Cop” in a short film called “Red, Black, and Blue.”
His mother, Faye Dimassimo, was appointed to oversee the “Renew Atlanta” infrastructure project in November 2015, according to a press release. She was previously the director of transportation for Cobb County. His father, Tom, is a teacher in the local school district.
Discuss on Facebook