In the days after “self-proclaimed” social media “star” Ryan Nihart attacked a blind and intellectually disabled worker dressed in a Minion costume, his Facebook lit up with comments of scorn for the 26-year-old college student. Not safe for work words of disdain littered his social posts. Nihart didn’t remove them back in July of 2018.
Nihart pleaded out to attacking 41-year-old Jamie Roehm, who was wearing a Minion costume as part of a promotion for a Daytona business, prosecutors said.
Nihart signed a nolo contendere plea, which means he gives up the right to a trial and the presumption of innocence.
He was then adjudicated guilty of misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief charges leveled by the Florida State Attorney for the Seventh Judaical District. He could have gotten a year in jail. Instead, he was sentenced to 10 days in the Volusia County Branch Jail followed by 12 months of supervised probation and has to pay $1200 in restitution.
In addition to the jail time, Nihart was ordered to pay restitution for the damaged suit, and enroll in a “moral recognition therapy” course as part of his year-long probation sentence, the state attorney said.
There’s a lot to unpack on Nihart. Here’s what you need to know:
1. In the Video Nihart’s Seen Hitting & Kicking The Minion, Picking Him Up & Spinning Him in the Air Then Throwing Him Down Onto the Pavement. He’s Held Down by Citizens Until Cops Arrive
Outside a shop in Daytona, Jamie Roehm was doing what he loves. A costumed Minion, the character from the wildly popular movie Despicable Me. inexplicably, Nihart approaches the Minion and begins an assault. The entire incident was captured on surveillance and cell-phone cameras.
The actual attack lasts for nearly a minute. Nihart’s girlfriend Jodi Opall is seen in the video.
In one version of the incident, which features a running commentary that appears to include an employee of the shop the Minion worked for, Nihart is seized upon by two men on the street and then held down until police arrive.
2. Roehm, Who Was Back on the Job the Following Day, Said He’s ‘Not Happy’ Unless He’s Making ‘Kids Happy’
During the attack, Roehm’s coworkers ran to his aid as the heard him screaming and then saw the assault. Roehm spoke to Orlando TV station Fox 35. He told a reporter that his job is to “…make the kids happy. And if I can’t do that, then I am not happy.”
Roehm was battered but not seriously injured. His costume was damaged. Bu the following day, he was back at work. He loves being in character, especially a Minion.
“I love the little kids when they come up to me and give me hugs and stuff, it makes my day.”
3. Nihart Says He’s ‘Instagram Star Bouje Ratche’ & Claimed the Attack Was an Agreed-Upon Prank
In its press release, the state attorney said Nihart is a “self-proclaimed social media ‘star.'”
Nihart says it himself in his defense. He claimed Roehm agreed. It’s not clear if the fact that Roehm is described by local media as blind and intellectually disabled was part of the case.
If Nihart had the video of the attack – it appeared that his girlfriend and another man were using cell phones to either recording or take images – it’s not on his IG.
A day or two before, he uploaded this video of him standing on a counter or table in a Racetrack gas station in Florida screaming.
Nihart does have a following on Instagram, just under 2,000 followers, and Facebook with a similar follower count. He produces comedy videos and influencer-talk videos. His YouTube channel appears new. He has 47 followers. Some videos are done with his girlfriend Jodi.
4. Nihart Has A Lot Going On. He’s a Stand-Up Comedian, Shares Get-Rich Ideas, Promotes Artists, Clubs & Charity Events
It’s his “HAPPINESS RAFFLE!”
Nihart has a regular raffle that he posts to Facebook where he raffles tickets for a prize package.
“You never know if your family member is playing, so help them hear their name be called! You can still get tickets up to 4:59p.m. TODAY. Thank you for all the love and support I really had fun doing this!”
Nihart dabbles. He hawks solar panels. He produces and promotes nightclub and charity events. The list on his ‘about’ on Facebook is voluminous and includes tidbits including he’s worked as an actor, attends College of Central Florida, lives in Lecanto, Florida and is from Houghton Lake, Michigan.
And, he owned a merch shop, but his website’s shuttered, though there’s a note it’ll be back soon. His posts are mostly upbeat. He created a happiness GoFudnMe, which never got a donation.
5. People Have Ripped Nihart on Social Media, Indeed on His Own Social Media, Commentary He’s Never Removed
Not only did he not deny the incident in court, he shared a news media report and video of the attack on his Facebook. And was attacked right back by commenters; his page is public.
Following the July attack, which was covered on area media, some launched their own attack on Nihart. Since, he’s posted a lot of upbeat, positive content.