Police detail arrest of Sen. Kaine's son at pro-Trump rally in St. Paul
ST. PAUL—Clad in black and wearing a mask, the youngest son of Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine wrested himself from the cop and then "squared off" with him.
Woody Kaine, 24, was among five masked, black-garbed people suspected of lobbing a smoke bomb minutes earlier inside the Minnesota Capitol rotunda Saturday afternoon.
Officers had chased him down, but Kaine wasn't about to submit, according to a more detailed account provided Wednesday by St. Paul police.
In the end, it took three officers, a "knee strike" and a chemical spray to subdue Kaine after he was identified as one of the counterprotesters who allegedly used fireworks or a smoke bomb to disrupt a rally in support of President Donald Trump at the Capitol, according to police spokesman Steve Linders.
Linwood Michael Kaine, who attended Carleton College and lives in Minneapolis, and four others were arrested on suspicion of second-degree riot after the "March 4 Trump" rally in St. Paul. A sixth person was cited for disorderly conduct. Counterprotesters — some with apparent anti-fascist and anarchist leanings — clashed with Trump supporters in the Capitol rotunda after they disrupted the permitted event with air horns, whistles and chants. Video of the scene shows a black-clad person wearing ski goggles lobbing the smoke bomb, which allegedly struck a 61-year-old woman. She was uninjured, police said.
None of the five has been charged. While the Ramsey County attorney's office has said "there were insufficient facts to prove felony-level riot," the case remains an "active investigation," according to the Minnesota State Patrol. St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark said his office is investigating the case for possible misdemeanor charges.
Here's how Woody Kaine's arrest went down:
The State Patrol contacted St. Paul police to assist, reporting that troopers had identified five people who lit off fireworks inside the Capitol, Linders said. The State Patrol asked St. Paul officers to arrest the five.
Police approached them at a park near the Capitol, identified themselves as officers and the people ran in different directions. But officers caught up with them, according to Linders.
An officer ordered a man, later identified as Linwood Kaine, to the ground. He refused, Linders said.
"The officer was able to get ahold of Mr. Kaine, but he got up, squared off with the officer and the officer tried to take him to the ground again," Linders said Wednesday. Another officer arrived and sprayed a chemical irritant toward Kaine.
"He then was taken to the ground, but continued to resist, at which point another officer deployed a knee strike to get him to cooperate with the officers and put his hands behind his back," Linders continued. "After the strike, Mr. Kaine cooperated and was taken into custody without further incident."
Both pro- and anti-Trump groups were aggressors at various times during rowdy confrontations that broke out Saturday, according to Daniel Springer, who was there recording the event on video.
Neither Kaine nor the four others arrested with him has been charged, and police haven't said who specifically they believe threw the smoke bomb — an act that Springer caught on video. The smoke bomb happened early, he said, and was unprovoked. "It wasn't even during the tense part of things," Springer said. "It was completely unnecessary, in my opinion."
The Pioneer Press has been unable to reach Kaine or any of the other people arrested with him Saturday.
Tim Kaine, who represents Virginia, where he previously served as governor, was born in St. Paul. On Tuesday night, when the Pioneer Press first reported the story, he released a statement: "We love that our three children have their own views and concerns about current political issues," he said. "They fully understand the responsibility to express those concerns peacefully."
POLITICAL QUESTIONS RAISED
John Krenik, chairman of the Republican Party in St. Paul, was not at Saturday's rally, but described disruptors as "being bullies against free speech."
Krenik also said that because St. Paul is a DFL town, he thinks "politics had something to do with" the county attorney's office decision to not charge Kaine.
"I have contacted the U.S. Department of Justice for a full investigation and review of St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi's actions in not prosecuting these terrorists' criminal acts," Krenik said in a statement. "I am asking both John Choi and Samuel Clark to recuse themselves and appoint outside review of these terrorists' actions, as their objectiveness has clearly been clouded by their political affiliation and Democrat Party loyalty."
The Ramsey County attorney's office said Monday it had "declined to file criminal charges as there were insufficient facts to prove felony-level riot. We referred the case back to the investigative agency (Minnesota State Patrol), and it is our understanding that they have presented the case to the St. Paul City Attorney's office for consideration of misdemeanor-level riot charges."
Choi, who received the DFL endorsement when he ran for office in 2010 and 2014, said in a statement Wednesday that neither he, nor anyone in his office, knew of Linwood Kaine's connection to Sen. Tim Kaine until it was reported by the media. The Pioneer Press posted an article about it Tuesday night.
"Quite frankly, it would not have mattered, as special privilege for a senator's son runs counter to a bedrock principle in our office, which is the rule of law in that no one is above it," Choi said in the statement. "The suggestion itself is offensive and implies that we should charge people with felony crimes with insufficient evidence. ... If more information is gathered that could prove felony riot, we will review the new evidence as we would in any case."
Linders and Clark have said they were unaware Linwood Kaine was Tim Kaine's son until Pioneer Press reporters informed them Tuesday evening.
On Tuesday, Clark said his investigation was continuing. On Wednesday, Lt. Tiffani Nielson, spokeswoman for the State Patrol, said, "The incident remains an active investigation."