Shane Ryan Sealy, a 34-year-old former Alabama high school English teacher, is accused of pulling out a gun at a protest of Donald Trump’s immigration policies after shouting “womp, womp” and other comments at protesters, including one who was leading a prayer.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sealy, a counter protester, was arrested for allegedly “possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of the protest” but was charged with menacing and reckless endangerment for his alleged actions on June 30, 2018 at the protest in Hunstville, Alabama. The protest was one of many that erupted throughout the nation in the wake of President Donald Trump’s zero tolerance prosecutions at the border and the family separations that have occurred.
According to WHNT-TV, prosecutors dismissed misdemeanor charges filed against Sealy in relation to the rally.
He was convicted but appealed and the prosecution then abandoned the case and dismissed the charges, The Houston Chronicle reported. The reason for the dismissal was not given.
Videos of what happened when Shane Sealy showed up at the “Families Belong Together” protest in Huntsville have gone viral. You can watch the videos later in this article.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shane Sealy Is Accused of Saying ‘Womp, Womp’ During a Prayer
Shane Ryan Sealy is accused of showing up at the protest and chanting “womp, womp” as a prayer was read at it, according to The Washington Post. That phrase previously provoked controversy when Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski used it on television during a discussion about a disabled immigrant child.
The event took place in a gazebo, and, as protesters began a prayer, Sealy’s voice allegedly rang out. “Womp, womp” he allegedly shouted, making other sounds, and, at one point, saying, “Ice, Ice baby,” during the prayer, as you can watch above. “We know that you can hear our words above the fray,” the woman leading the prayer forged on. “We pray that you would hear us above the noise…we pray for our ancestors who moved from somewhere to here. And we ask that you give us strength in the face of the opposition.”
Sealy held a sign that also said Ice, Ice Baby, which is the refrain in a famous song by Vanilla Ice. According to The Washington Post, when the prayer was over, other protesters at the event then confronted Sealy. Sealy is now out of custody on his own recognizance, according to jail records.
Sealy, who had no prior Huntsville criminal history, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but it’s been revoked, The New York Daily News reports.
2. Shane Ryan Sealy Is a Former High School Teacher Certified to Teach English
Sealy used to work as a high school teacher in Alabama. “Sealy previously taught at Grissom High School,” reported WHNT-TV.
A cache from a now deleted and old page mentioning Sealy at Grissom High School read, “Mr. Shane Sealy. I have lived in Huntsville my entire life, and graduated from Grissom in 2002. I am excited to be back, and will be teaching English 10.”
However, school officials said that Sealy only worked at the school for about two months in 2016, according to the television station. According to the State of Alabama Department of Education database for teachers, Shane Ryan Sealy is still a certified teacher. His professional certificate was issued in 2012, according to the database, and it allows him to teach grades 6 through 12 in English Language Arts.
He was listed as possessing a class A certificate, which means he has a master’s degree. “This individual has completed an ASBI / FBI criminal history background check and is suitable and fit to teach under state law,” the state website says, although it’s not clear how the new accusations could change that fact. He’s certified to teach English Language Arts courses, including for “English for Speakers of Other Languages,” the database says, in addition to Essentials/Life Skills: English Language Arts, and Theatre, among others.
3. Sealy Is Accused of Pulling Out a Gun After ‘Picking a Fight’ With a Protester
Things got scarier at the protest fast. Authorities say that Sealy pulled out a gun at the protest. He did not fire the weapon, and no one was injured in the incident. AJC reported that police allege that Sealy picked a fight with a protester, pushing him, and, when the protester pushed Sealy back, knocking him down, Sealy is accused of pulling out the gun.
People who were there say they saw Sealy allegedly pull out the weapon. “He pulled out a gun. I saw him holding it out in front of him. We just started screaming for everybody to drop to the ground,” said Ava Caldwell, a rally organizer, to WHNT-TV. “We all dropped to the ground crying.”
Another video captured more of the scene. You can watch it above. “He had a gun!” shouts a protester in the video. “Gun!” People appear to run after the protester in the video, and, at the end of it, police show up.
4. Protesters Say the Situation Escalated Quickly
What started out as heckling to some grew more serious when the gun was brandished, witnesses told news reporters. Photos, which you can see above, show terrified protesters on the ground.
“At first he was just heckling, he had a sign, you know, ‘deport everyone.’ It wasn’t an emergency at that point. But when he pulled out the gun things escalated really quickly,” said Heather Resendez, co-organizer of the protest, to WBTV.
She further alleged to the television station: “I saw him pull it out. He said ‘I will shoot everybody here’ so me and my people who were sitting the gazebo so we ran and laid down the in grass right here and we were yelling at people to get down, cause a lot of people over here didn’t see this person, they didn’t see he had a weapon.”
A 10-year-old girl who was supposed to speak at the event became too shaken to do so, according to WBTV.
5. A LinkedIn Page in Sealy’s Name Lists His Experience as ‘Idiot’ & He Has a Journalism Degree
According to online records, Shane Sealy lives in Huntsville. A LinkedIn profile in his name, along with that city listed, reads only: “idiot at idiot farm.” It’s not clear when it was created.
A screenshot of the high school teaching bio for Sealy before it was deleted shows he has a degree in journalism and said that he liked to record and write music.
“Someone with the same name and location as Sealy has a Facebook profile which is full of extremist conservative propaganda,” Raw Story reported. The page has been deleted, however, preventing its authentication.