A Republican running for the Minnesota House claims that he suffered a concussion after being assaulted in what he believes was a “politically motivated” attack.
Shane Mekeland, running for District 15B, posted on Facebook Sunday that he was “assaulted in Benton County” after engaging in a politically-charged discussion while visiting a bar in the area.
“While I had never met my assailant, the words he yelled at me before he attacked lead me to believe his actions were politically motivated,” Mekeland wrote. “When I chose to run for office, I expected to be politically attacked, but never physically.”
Mekeland went on to explain that he debated going public with the incident, but ultimately decided that “we all need a reminder to be civil to each other regardless of our perspectives.”
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday that it is “investigating the alleged assault of Shane Mekeland,” but has yet to publicly identify the suspect since he has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime.
According to Sheriff Troy Heck, Mekeland reported that he was in the unidentified bar for an hour and was having an “amiable conversation” with the suspect “until it ended abruptly when the man apparently took offense to a statement Mekeland made concerning the ‘middle class.’”
“Mekeland stated that the man punched him in the face without warning,” Heck continued, noting that Mekeland claims to have suffered “personal injuries as a result of this assault.”
The investigation is ongoing, and could continue for another seven to 10 days, Heck told The Star Tribune, which reported that the alleged suspect initially approached Mekeland to learn about his campaign.
“Stay calm, be civil, it’s OK,” Mekeland responded to The Star Tribune. “My parents were on the opposite side for their entire marriage and it was 53 years. I grew up in it; they never fought over it.”
In response to one comment on his Facebook post, Mekeland blamed “the media and the likes of Maxine Waters, Hillary [Clinton], and Eric Holder” for “driving this behavior.”
“Left, right or in between, civil discourse is needed,” he added. “As far as resolve, this is exactly the type of thing that will push me, you and other like minded people to fight harder.”
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