A New York man arrested last month after he pushed a megaphone into the face of an independent U.S. Senate candidate was sentenced to probation and issued a fine, The Berkshire Eagle reports.
Paul Solovay, 74, of Hillsdale, who faced assault and battery and disorderly conduct charges, was ordered on Aug. 16 to complete nine months of probation and a 10-week anger management class, the newspaper reports.
He must also pay a $150 fine and serve 60 days of probation for the disorderly conduct charge.
Southern Berkshire District Court Judge Paul Vrabel continued the case without a finding, according to the Eagle.
The charges stem from a July 22 altercation outside of a town hall event in Great Barrington hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren where Solovay shoved a megaphone into the mouth of Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai, who says he suffered a bloody lip and and chipped teeth.
Ayyadurai, an Indian immigrant who was standing across the street from Warren supporters in line for the event, had been using the megaphone to address the crowd by criticizing Warren and calling Solovay a racist, as seen in a widely circulated video of the incident.
“I understand that there [were] oppositional beliefs on both sides of that street on that day, but I believe that the defendant really lost his cool in that circumstance when he turned to violence rather than just understanding … somebody else’s … point of view and accepting free speech within this country,” Assistant District Attorney Dana Parsons said during the Aug. 16 proceeding, the Eagle reports. “I understand that [Solovay] is 74 years old and has no record, but nonetheless …”
Attorney Louis Oggiani who represented Solovay and who had asked the court to continue the case without a finding, said his client is not a racist and that he was embarrassed by the incident and has apologized, according to the newspaper.
Ayyadurai also addressed the court, reading from a statement he later posted on Twitter.
“We need discourse and free speech to discuss important issues such as race and racism, as Americans,” he said. “For far too long in America, those claiming to fight racism, liberal or otherwise, have monopolized that discourse and have no right to use violence to suppress opposing views.
“The picture of a white man emblazoned with ‘liberal’ on his t-shirt, punching and shoving a megaphone down the throat of a black Indian man, because he disagreed with his viewpoint, should be a wake up call.”