In a politically motivated prosecution, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell charged two Turning Point USA (TPUSA) journalists with assault against ASU instructor David Boyles. Boyles, who teaches writing and a course on LGBTQ+ youth in pop culture and politics, is also the founder of Drag Story Hour and has been on the TPUSA “watch list” as a potential risk against children. During the October 11, 2023 incident, ASU security cameras recorded an altercation between Boyles and the two reporters that showed Boyles lunging at the videographer and subsequently being pushed away by the reporter, causing Boyles to fall.
Despite the video evidence, Mitchell charged the two TPUSA reporters, Kalen D’Almeida and Braden Ellis, with three misdemeanor counts, each of Harassment, Assault, and Disorderly conduct, seemingly under pressure from ASU.
In an email to 12News, ASU police spokesman Adam Wolfe stated, “The reported assault is being investigated as a potential bias or prejudicially motivated incident.”
The University also released a statement intimating that the TPUSA pair were guilty of harassment. It stated, “Harassment or threatening behavior toward ASU employees is dangerous, unsettling and will not be tolerated. With that in mind, we reviewed our university protocols to ensure swift reporting, careful investigation, and focus on your safety as our utmost concern.”
Boyles’ accusation was more direct. His Facebook post stated, “Knowing that they were filming in order to post this online and inspire even more harassment against me, I moved to block the camera. When I did so, the other one jumped me from behind, slamming me to the pavement.”
However, Turning Point spokesman Andrew Kolvet told 12News that the cameraman, Ellis, plans to file a police report and press charges for assault. He stated, “They (the two-person Turning Point crew) did not initiate any physical altercation.”
The ASU video footage supports TPUSA’s position. However, that did not stop Mitchell, a Republican, from joining the politically charged fray. According to the charges filed in University Lakes Justice Court, the two TPUSA reporters “knowingly and repeatedly harassed David Boyles” and “recklessly” caused the injury.
In a November 30, 2023, posting on X, Richard Grenell, former Trump-era Acting Director of National Intelligence and Ambassador to Germany, accused Mitchell of political laziness, siding with Democrats, and calling for her replacement. He tweeted, “Republican” wimp and lazy politician @Rachel1Mitchell longs for Democrats in Maricopa County to like her. Now she’s going after Conservative @TPUSA staffers. Rachel is so afraid of Kris Mayes.”
“Republican” wimp and lazy politician @Rachel1Mitchell longs for Democrats in Maricopa County to like her.
Now she’s going after Conservative @TPUSA staffers. Rachel is so afraid of Kris Mayes.
It’s time to defeat Rachel. Who’s ready to run against her? https://t.co/WttLW4zRU7
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 30, 2023
Phoenix-based Turning Point USA is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012 with the stated mission to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.” Part of the group’s growing focus has been social issues in the classroom, particularly with the trans and LGBTQ+ agenda through their “Frontlines: Child Safety Unit.”
Attorney Mitchell, who won a 2022 special election, will likely face a Conservative challenger in 2024 for this case and her stance against Kari Lake’s challenges to the 2022 election. There had been some speculation that Abe Hamadeh, who narrowly lost to Kris Mayes in a bitterly contested 2022 election, might challenge Mitchell for the post, but instead is running to replace Debbie Lesko in CD8.
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