A Santa Fe man said an armed Trump supporter assaulted him and damaged his vehicle during a rally Saturday outside the Roundhouse to dispute Joe Biden's election victory.

While Second Amendment and anti-abortion activists, and recent Republican candidates, spoke to a crowd of around 350 by the Capitol, a few dozen protesters lined the intersection of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail with flags, drawing honks and curses.

Sean Kupchella, 32, said in a telephone interview he was driving toward the intersection at about 2 p.m. when he made a gesture out of the sunroof of his vehicle toward the Trump flags. After one woman hit his hand with a yard sign, he said he stopped his car. When another man punched his hand and kicked his door, Kupchella said he locked his car and called police.

"He kicked my door and then put his hand on his gun on his waist. I think he was one of those militia guys. As he was going for his gun four militia guys grabbed him and pulled him away," Kupchella said. "Another man there told me I wasn't the first one they had been violent to. The cop just told me to get out of there."

Santa Fe police said no arrests were made during the rally. Kupchella said he spoke with officers at the scene, but an incident report was not available Monday.

Santa Fe police spokesman Greg Gurulé wrote in an email suspects were not identified.

"I don’t have any names to share with you yet. It’s still under investigation," he wrote.

(34) comments

John Martinez

The only reason to publish this BS story is to widen the divide amongst our community and Dillon should be ashamed of himself for putting out such an elementary, non-news worthy piece. And all of you, whom lower yourselves to generalize and crtisize people who are doing something that they strongly believe in should be asahamed of yourselves acting like teen age bullies. Just becasue they don't follow your beliefs and ideals.

Miranda Viscoli

This is an important news piece. I was there and I have a video of the armed men denting the car. I saw them flee when SFPD showed up. They were also aggressively going after high school students who were simply celebrating the presidential win. Guys with the biggest guns are not democracy.

Richard Reinders

At least they didn't dent his face, this kind behavior can be seen at almost any intersection when someone flips off another motorist and then gets caught at a light.

Angel Ortiz

Really Richard? Duck Dynasty protesters in camo with assault rifles. Tell me one time you have seen this occurance in Santa Fe. True the individual was wrong to engage these idiots but by no means does it justify their actions. If you agree with what they did then you should probably run out to Big R and grab up some new winter clothing. Camo is on sale today

Khal Spencer

People do that anyway as you say which is why practicing that form of American Sign Language is a bad idea. But if one is going to combine a public demonstration of First and Second Amendment rights, they have to hold themselves to a much higher standard of conduct under pressure. Bullets don't have a reverse gear or an in-fight self destruct switch.

Miranda Viscoli

This is an important news piece. I was there and I have a video of the armed men denting the car. I saw them flee when SFPD showed up. They were also aggressively going after high school students who were simply celebrating the presidential win. Guys with the biggest guns are not democracy.

Khal Spencer

As I have said elsewhere on this bulletin board, all the folks who cannot control their emotions right now should go home, hug their dog, and either take a valium or go for a long walk.

No, Angel, the 4x4 crowd will want to put up a statue of DJT, not tear the Capitol down.

But especially with regards to either destroying things or showing up heavily armed at a demonstration, I can't see any good coming out of any of it. If folks are upset and want to protest I can understand that. But destruction of property or scaring the bejezus out of folks by showing up loaded for bear, for no good reason, is just tossing gasoline on the fire of our current discontent.

I avoid both sets of lunatics entirely, and not just due to Covid. The monument wreckers disgust me and the folks stomping around with all this macho/camo/5.56x45 stuff leave me waiting for something awful to go wrong. If the story about some folks having to pull their buddy out of causing more trouble by getting into it with a digit-waving liberal adversary is correct I am glad they were there to do some good and thank them. The fact that they had to do that is what worries me.

I have a good friend, a Vietnam war combat veteran and SEAL who I go hiking with so we can get some fresh air, talk about stuff that interests us, and avoid people and thereby avoid The Bug. We shook our heads yesterday and wondered, as David Ford does, whether any of these folks could mentally or physically survive the first week at Parris Island or Little Creek. My friend obviously did the advanced put-yourself-through-grief training and I had the scaled down NROTC version, doing the obstacle course at one point with all the muscles in my right arm badly strained. Actual violence is not for the fainthearted, as actual warfighters find out when the going gets hot.

Peace out, all. Biden ain't the devil and as he said, its time to heal. Me? I hope the GOP holds the Senate so both sides can claim half a loaf and get on with the normal business of horse trading.

Angel Ortiz

Well said! Thank you.[thumbup]

Khal Spencer

Oh, just a final addenum. In addition to my (conservative) friend who is a retired SEAL, I have another friend who fought at Firebase Buttons in the Army who is quite liberal. Both are extremely circumspect when it comes to firearms, given they both saw in the real world what it is like to see other people get killed, including your buddies. Jefferson's quote about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants should be taken with the knowledge that that blood is spilled out of us and our friends, relatives, and countrymen. Not anonymous twitter or social media voices. The single bloodiest day in American military history fell on Sept. 17, 1862: the date of the Battle of Antietam.

Jeff Clark

Meanwhile there were 16 police officers on the plaza to keep an eye on the middle aged people dancing with joy. An officer told a woman with a speaker it was too loud even though on the plaza you could hear the noise from the roundhouse. Another man was told by the police that he couldn't stand next to the street on the sidewalk walking a Biden sign that he was somehow interfering with traffic.

Carolyn DM

Of course the little boys dressed up as Army men with their big guns are out for violence and destruction. That's all they have since they don't possess anything else useful like a freakin' brain!!

David Ford

[thumbup] Spot on Carolyn. As I have said before I doubt any of these wanna be "soldiers" could last half a day at Parris Island, Ft. Knox, or Great Lakes.....

Lee DiFiore

The victim's AKA is Jussie.

Russell Scanlon

Let’s imagine for a moment that the “protestors” (sore losers, really) were Black. Or Muslim.

I’m not trying to stir the pot. I’m sick of all this anger, violence, and resentment. All I’m asking is that we do a thought experiment and take a breath.

And Joe Biden will still be president.

Angel Ortiz

[thumbup]

Richard Reinders

In his own words he provoked the protestors and stopped, he was looking for a fight, I don't agree with violence if that is what they did. You run with the bulls you get the horn.

Khal Spencer

Exactly. There is nothing dumber than going and looking for a fight in a situation like this.

https://the28blues.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/traditiondemotivator.jpg?w=584

Khal Spencer

At least the protestors didn't show up with chains and pull down the roof of the roundhouse.

Angel Ortiz

Khal, I'm sure one of these scholars in a camo 4x4 pick up truck will make that attempt in the future.

Russell Scanlon

And, thank God, Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t show up either.

Angel Ortiz

First mistake was made by Mr. Kupchella by engaging with people dressed up as though they are attending a Duck Dynasty convention. Granted the hand gesture was inappropriate but by no means does it provide anyone with am excuse to attack him. I am still baffled where these so called protesters are actually from. Dressed in camo, assault rifles, sidearms and rosaries. Hopefully these protesters, who are actually bullies, are not members of our community. If SFPD doesn't step up to address situations such as these in the future I can honestly believe that the situation will escalate.

David Ford

You mean Rhodes Scholars don't you Angel [smile].

His use of what I jokingly call ASL, is still a First Amendment right just as they were exhibiting with their essentially intimating behaviors, armed to the teeth like the Taliban walking down the street in Kabul. "Militia"? No. And we should start using the term Domestic Terrorists to be accurate. Terrorism takes on many forms and not all are immediately violent.

I was on my way to Newman's Nursery when I saw them driving down Cerrillos and yes, they came from out of town to go the the Roundhouse, after all we are living in the capitol.

Anita McGinnis

capital

David Ford

Ha. Thank you but - auto-correct I didn't catch. While we're at though you started a sentence with a lower case and didn't end it with a period.[cool]

Anita McGinnis

[smile] You mean capital, don't you?

David Ford

No I meant capital (past tense) [beam]

Khal Spencer

Hi David. I think the pertinent question is whether tbe courts have decided if this form of ASL constitutes fighting words vs. whether it is expressive conduct protected under First Amendment doctrine. I don't know, but good short piece here:

http://wakeforestlawreview.com/2019/09/as-free-as-a-bird-the-middle-finger-and-the-first-amendment/

"...Fighting words, however, are one exception to the First Amendment; they are words “which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”[9] The Supreme Court further explained that fighting words are not essential to the discussion of ideas, and any benefit to the social discourse derived from them is outweighed by society’s interest in morality and order.[10] Despite the expressive value of extending one’s middle finger, courts are more willing to conclude that the gesture can support a disorderly conduct charge if there are other disruptive circumstances or if a third party can testify that they felt offended or threatened.[11] For example, the Third Circuit held that a police officer had probable cause to charge plaintiff with disorderly conduct under the totality of the circumstances, namely the plaintiff’s display of his middle finger and aggressive driving directed at another driver on the road.[12] With additional disruptive circumstances, a court is more likely to conclude that the speech constitutes fighting words and that the person using such speech can be charged with disorderly conduct.[13] For expressive purposes, disorderly conduct statutes have been limited by the Supreme Court to the proscription of fighting words.[14]..."

I would err on the side of "expressive conduct" and if someone flips me off, I generally turn and walk away, assuming it is safe to do so. That said, in this day and age, too many people are hair triggered and more than one nasty road rage has been instigated by that Middle Fickle Finger of Fate.

David Ford

Good piece Khal and very informative. In any communication, and most particularly this type, there is a sender and a receiver and I would have to say that a lot of the determination of the intent or receipt would be based on how one's outlook allow it to be perceived. Believe it or not ([beam]) I have been both a sender and receiver (in my waaaay younger days) and 99% of the time, as a receiver, I used to smile and say thank you, thank you very much ala Elvis. Tends to confuse as well as upset without any intent for either...[smile]

Richard Reinders

Emotions don't stop to see if the first amendment right is in play, you know like I do 99% of the time the sender is going to get a bloody nose of some kind.

Khal Spencer

Hi Richard. You are right of course, but one has to thread the needle between provoking a fight and expressing strongly different opinions. If I walk up to you and flip you off, that to me is asking for trouble. If we meet on a streetcorner and one of us has a MAGA hat on and one a DNC hat, and we want to have a lively disagreement, that is just good citizenship.

I was going to my dorm room one night in college with my girlfriend and a good friend who was my freshman dorm roommate. Two drunk students were headed the other way. For no apparent reason, one spit in my face. I just stood there, blocking his way, and quietly asked why he did that. He got jittery, backed off, and apologized. I preferred that because had I just slugged him I might have been fired from my part time job on Campus Security. Choices matter, at least they used to.

Anita McGinnis

Did you know, Angel, that there is a documentary titled

"Guns and Rosaries".... and it is related to what's happening today.

Angel Ortiz

Good morning Anita. Wonderful to hear from you again. Allow me to once again explain to you that I find it disturbing that our Capitol Building was overwhelmed by so called protesters. This group of people was comprised of individuals carrying assault rifles, semi automatic pistols, camouflage attire and being absolutely immature. It is disturbing to me that wearing or taking a rosary to an event such as this and the associated behavior. It's ok if you agree with their behavior. That's your opinion and if you are happy with it. Fine. From my side of the barrio, this sort of behavior is unacceptable. Those who participated are behaving like spoiled children. Have a wonderful day and don't forget to wash your camo gear for the next event!

Stefanie Beninato

[thumbup] I don't hear any of the right wing apologists for the armed bullies yelling about them being from out of town--an assumption made by them concerning the obelisk vandals only to discover that one of the vandals was a "talented" local tattoo artist.

Emily Koyama

There are plenty of Radical Liberals living right here in SF....so no need to import them from elsewhere, although it may turn out that some of those charged in the destruction of the obelisk were from out of State (think, Oregon, Austin, NY, Seattle perhaps).

As for the right wing group protesting at the Capitol, I suspect must of them were from Southern NM, so at least they are NM residents.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.