Saturday, 44-year-old Lata became internet famous after he was filmed hitting a man in the face outside a Denton Buc-ee’s gas station. Officials did not state what prompted the argument, although Denton police spokeswoman Allison Beckwith said it “was widely believed to be politically driven.”
TMZ reported that Lata became enraged after another man refused to stop playing an anti-Trump rap song, YG and Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT” (which stands for “Fuck Donald Trump"). A video of the incident had attracted 8 million views by Tuesday afternoon.
Political tensions are soaring as the Nov. 3 election nears. In August, the Washington Post reported multiple Democratic protesters were attacked by supporters of President Donald Trump at a rally in Tyler. Last month, violence erupted in Dallas between pro-Trump protesters and Black Lives Matter demonstrators, according to WFAA.
Violent Trump supporter at a rally in Texas assaults a peaceful counter-protester pic.twitter.com/s950Q3kgTj— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) October 3, 2020
Lata was booked into the Denton city jail on Saturday night after police issued a warrant for his arrest. He has since been released on a $15,000 bond, although the exact date and time of his discharge are not clear, Beckwith said.
Police charged Lata with assault causing bodily injury, which is a class A misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $4,000, jail time not to exceed one year, or both. It is unclear whether he has an attorney.
The Buc-ee’s assault victim, Dan Royce Schochler III, told police Saturday that he and his friend had gotten into an argument with Trump supporters outside the gas station that afternoon. The Daily Mail reported that a “MAGA meet-up” was in progress there, and “FDT” can be heard playing in the background of the viral video.
In the 16-second clip, Lata and his friend are seen confronting a masked Schochler, who appears to be carrying some sort of flag. Neither of the two apparent Trump supporters are wearing face coverings.
Lata sports a yellow trucker hat and a black shirt picturing a Libertarian snake emblem and the words “don’t tread on me.” His friend is wearing a Trump shirt emblazoned with an American flag.
The video begins mid-confrontation.
“I’ll fuckin' eat your fuckin’ face off, motherfucker,” Lata says to Schochler, coming within inches of his face. “You want a fuckin’ piece?”
“No, thank you,” Schochler says.
“Turn it off!” Lata yells, although it’s unclear whether he’s referring to the cell phone that's recording him or the rap song. “I’ll fuck you up.”
Lata then hits Schochler in the face, knocking him to the ground.
Following the encounter, police were called to a local hospital at around 12:40 p.m. Schochler suffered an abrasion below his right eyebrow and a broken tooth.
Houston lawyer Loren Klitsas said in a tweet Sunday that his firm would be representing Schochler.
“Justice Time,” Klitsas wrote.
Following the incident, Schochler also took to Twitter to thank supporters for their concern. He provided a link to a GoFundMe set up to cover his medical expenses, which had garnered more than $5,300 by Tuesday afternoon.
Thank you to @RexChapman and all others who helped in the Twitter Universe. Our law firm in Houston is now representing the young man who was sucker punched at the Trump MagaDrag rally yesterday in Denton, Tx. Justice Time.— Loren klitsas (@KlitsasLoren) October 4, 2020
Schochler wrote that any leftover money will be donated to the LGBT organization the Audre Lorde Project and Denton’s Food Not Bombs, a collective that serves free vegan and vegetarian food to others.
Both Democrats and Republicans expressed support on Schochler’s GoFundMe page.
“Well wishes from a conservative,” one donor who gave $15 wrote. “Hope that you recover quickly and the other guy gets locked up.”
Another person donated $100.
“For taking the baby sucker punch like man #FDT,” they wrote.