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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 3 months ago

Belleview man arrested after hitting a Black Lives Matter protestor near the Granada Bridge

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Ormond Beach Police report James Casselman was part of a group consisting primarily of Trump supporters counterprotesting a Black Lives Matter and social justice protest.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

A 62-year-old Belleview man involved in a counterprotest across the Granada Bridge was arrested by Ormond Beach Police on Wednesday, Aug. 12, after he struck a protestor.

James Casselman was part of a group consisting mainly of supporters of President Donald Trump who decided to counterprotest a Black Lives Matter and social justice protest on the other side of the intersection of South Beach Street and West Granada Boulevard, according to his arrest report. OBPD Public Information Officer Keith Walker said a small group has been protesting on the bridge for the last couple of months without incidents, but that on this day, about 100 people, both local and not, showed up for both protests in total.

The protests started at 5 p.m., and later in the evening, many of the counterprotestors left. Walker said the Black Lives Matter group then crossed the street. At the time, around 7:14 p.m., there were only a handful of counterprotestors left, including Casselman. 

James Casselman was arrested on a battery touch charge.

Casselman and the victim got into a verbal altercation, and Casselman was holding a yellow flower close to the victim's face. The victim swatted the flower, and Casselman struck him with an open hand to the right side of his face. The report stated that he did so "with enough force to cause the victim to stumble backwards slightly."

Officers intervened and removed him from the crowd. Casselman stated he got hit with the victim's megaphone first, but other video obtained of the incident showed this to be untrue, according to the police report.

Walker said before Casselman's arrest, a 17-year-old with the Black Lives Matter group got in a verbal altercation with the Trump counterprotestors. She ended up spitting on one, but the person didn't press charges. 

Walker noted that the arrest report has some discrepancies, as he said it make it sound like the Black Lives Matter group crossed the street to confront the counterprotestors, which he said isn't accurate. 

Cassselman was taken to jail. He was charged with battery touch. 

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