Beaver man arrested for allegedly assaulting protester at J.D. Vance rally
A Beaver Township man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a protester during U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance’s campaign appearance at the Mahoning County Republican Headquarters in Boarman this past April.
Dennis Zimmet, 70, was arrested by Beaver Township Police on a warrant issued by a county court judge in Boardman. Zimmet was booked into the county jail where he awaits a Thursday afternoon court hearing on one count of assault.
David Kissinger of Rogers, Ohio told police he was confronted by several people, including Zimmet, during Vance’s April 27 campaign appearance outside the GOP Headquarters on McClurg Road.
Kissinger, who was carrying a sign calling Trump-endorsed candidate J.D. Vance a “fraud”, says Zimmet told him to leave the property and chest bumped him, before allegedly pushing Kissinger to the ground with both hands.
Several police officers were called to the scene.
An ambulance crew treated Kissinger for a cut on his hand, but Kissinger refused to go to a hospital, according to the police report.
The police report says Zimmet admitted to officers that he was annoyed by Kissinger’s presence and told him to leave. But he denies any physical altercation, claiming that Kissinger tripped and fell when Zimmet put his hands on the sign he was carrying.
Zimmet also told officers that Kissinger cocked his arm back in a fighting stance.
One witness told police she saw Zimmet standing over Kissinger and yelling at him as Zimmet was on the ground.
Police collected other witness statements and videos of the incident before the assault charge was filed against Zimmet.
Since then, Kissinger and his wife have filed a complaint in federal court saying the incident at GOP Headquarters violated his rights to free speech.
The lawsuit names the Mahoning County Republican Party, party chairman Thomas McCabe, and Columbiana County GOP chairman Dave Johnson.
The suit also names Robert Aurandt of Poland as a defendant, claiming he was responsible for Kissinger ending up on the ground.
However, Aurandt has since filed a motion to dismiss Kissinger’s complaint, noting that Zimmet is the one who has been charged with assaulting Kissinger.
The Kissingers have asked the court for permission to file an amended complaint that adds Zimmet as a defendant.
Chairman Tom McCabe has also filed a motion to dismiss.
Dave Johnson has taken a step further and is asking the court to levy sanctions against the Kissinger’s alleging that their lawsuit is a frivolous attempt to advance partisan politics.