Last night in Las Vegas, on the eve of the next GOP debate, Donald Trump's campaign rally was interrupted by protesters, but they weren't the scariest people involved in the altercation that ensued. What sparked it all? Trump invited a supporter onstage to talk about how his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant, but before he could get even halfway through his story, demonstrators exercised their First Amendment rights. Buzzfeed reporter McKay Coppins posted a 20-second video to Twitter of protester Ender Austin III being forcibly removed by security after the disruption. People were repeatedly shouting the "n-word" at him and saying, "Hail Trump," as the protester was being assaulted. One person even went as far as shouting "Set the motherfucker on fire!" Also being echoed were anti-Muslim remarks and racist rhetoric — language one associates with neo-Nazi groups and white supremacists, not major-party political gatherings.
"What really scared me was that in 2015 America, not Nazi Germany, I was hearing 'Sieg heil' being yelled out," Austin told Refinery29. He went to the campaign rally with a small organized contingency from a community group called Unity Vegas, with the intention of adding contrast to what was being said by Trump and his supporters. "I became increasingly agitated because they were trying to pin illegal or undocumented persons as the source of all of the problems in America," he told Refinery29. "And at that point, I got agitated and I said, ‘Well, hey, if we’re going to talk about violence, we need to talk about gun control. If there were no guns, that wouldn’t have happened,' and within seconds, there were security guards around me and physically assaulting me. Eventually, they threw me to the ground, and shortly after that, the police came, took me outside, handcuffed me, and basically reprimanded me for freedom of speech." Trump's response? “This is what we should have been doing to the other side for the last seven years!” he said during the frenzy.
"I didn't expect people to fully embrace my opinions, but I thought we'd be able to speak freely, at least," said Austin.