Assaulted as he spoke out against Trump

November 15, 2016

Nicole Colson reports on a frightening attack during an anti-Trump rally in Ohio.

Tim Adams was sent flying down a flight of stairs by a man who rushed at him from behind and shoved him as he was speaking. The fall could have caused very serious injuries--but Tim got up afterward and finished his speech.

"It's just some bruises--nothing serious," he assured Socialist Worker in an interview as he left the emergency room late Monday. "I'm probably going to be sore tomorrow."

Anyone who saw the video of the assault--captured by the OSU student newspaper The Lantern and circulated widely on the Internet--feared that Tim would be much more than sore.

The footage shows him speaking through a megaphone from a stairway in the center of the Ohio Union. A man then runs down the stairs behind Tim, shouting "idiot," and hits him with the full force of his body. Other protesters subdued the attacker, before police moved in and arrested him.

The attacker was presumed to be a Trump supporter, but there was conflicting information about this as this article was published. Whatever the case, it is a fact that right-wingers have menaced other anti-Trump demonstrations since Election Day.

An Ohio State University student (blurry figure at left) pushed rally speaker Tim Adams down a flight of stairs in the Ohio Union
An Ohio State University student (blurry figure at left) pushed rally speaker Tim Adams down a flight of stairs in the Ohio Union (The Lantern)

THE PROTEST Tim was speaking at, organized by the group Socialist Alternative, "was probably the seventh or eighth rally or action that's taken place in Columbus since the election just under a week ago," Tim said.

"It was on Ohio State's campus, and there were about 100, 120 people in attendance. We started from the center of campus, Ohio State's oval, and then marched down to the Ohio Student Union, which is where the rally concluded. That's where I gave my speech and where I was assaulted."

The irony, Tim pointed out, is that when he was attacked, he was speaking about the necessity of activists coming together in solidarity to stand against the bigotry and violence that the election of Trump has unleashed:

I had just finished talking about how Trump says these things, but we also need to be aware of how his supporters are carrying out all sorts of violence. In Columbus last week, there were flyers found around campus with white supremacist slogans on them. On Saturday night, people saw a truck full of individuals wearing KKK uniforms driving around a predominantly Black neighborhood and around the campus neighborhood. So there's definitely this atmosphere of violence and fear out there with an emboldened far right.

I was talking about that, about why we need to build solidarity and why the Democratic Party isn't going to help us in this because they're on the same side as the Republicans. And as I was saying that, this guy runs down the stairs and knocks me over.

Despite the sucker punch, Tim managed to get up after police moved in and arrested the attacker--and later finished his speech. "I really felt it was important to not let the attack disrupt the rally," Tim said. "He was trying to shut me down, and I had more to say, and I wasn't going to stop because he knocked me over."

In the hours after he was assaulted, Tim received a flood of support on social media from the OSU community and beyond. Now, he says, it's vital that everyone stands up against of bigotry and violence wherever it occurs.

E-mail alerts

Further Reading

Today's Stories

From the archives