Brandon Tatum, who The Washington Post confirmed is an officer in the Tucson Police Department, said in the video that he attended Trump's rally as a civilian to see what the candidate had to say. Tatum said that he felt "extremely uncomfortable" with the protesters' language, signs and behavior, calling them "evil."
"They're just outrageously screaming and yelling and not really saying anything but hateful slurs, calling him a racist, calling people that were involved racists and haters and the funny thing is these people were some of the most hateful, evil people I've ever seen," he said.
Tatum, who is black, said that he felt the protesters escalated things to the level of violence and blamed them for the tone of the rallies. Tatum even said he was afraid he would be sucker-punched in the face and feared he'd need to punch someone else in self-defense.
“These people were acting so outrageous,” he said. “You were just thinking that somebody was going to lose their temper and there was going to be a full brawl.”
While Tatum said in the video that he felt a protester who he saw get "his butt kicked" would be exposed by the media, he added to the text of his Facebook video that he later learned the situation was unprovoked. Tatum seemed to be referring to an anti-Trump protestor, identified as Bryan Sanders, who was allegedly punched in the face by a Trump supporter at the rally. An airman at a nearby military base, Tony Pettway, faces a misdemeanor assault charge in the incident.
Protesters at the Tucson rally formed a wall in front of the entrance to a second Trump rally site, chanting “shut it down.” Despite the demonstrators' efforts, Tatum said he left the event feeling more congenial about the Republican frontrunner.
“I gained a lot of respect for Donald Trump,” Tatum said. “I think that if you want to know the truth about stuff, you got to examine it, you got to physically show up. You show up to events and you’ll get a perspective of what’s really going on and you won’t have to listen to what anybody else says.”