Charges filed against Tim Kaine’s son, others who crashed MN Capitol Trump rally
The chaos that some counter-protesters brought into the Minnesota Capitol in March during a rally in support of President Donald Trump included smoke bombs, Mace in people’s faces and fireworks, prosecutors said Friday as they announced charges against eight people.
Among those charged was Linwood “Woody” Kaine, a son of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016. The 24-year-old Minneapolis man is accused of fleeing police on foot and concealing his identity in a public place, both misdemeanors, and obstructing legal process, a gross misdemeanor.
After police arrested Kaine and others outside the March 4 rally, the Ramsey County and St. Paul city attorneys’ offices did not file charges. They asked law enforcement officers to continue their investigation.
A challenge for investigators was how people tried to conceal their identities: The small group that caused problems were wearing black clothing, with their faces and heads covered, and goggles — which a police official described as an indication of people who identify as anarchists.
Investigators used additional eyewitness interviews, social media postings and cellphone videos to identify suspects and connect their actions to criminal conduct, said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
“When people seek to prevent others who are peacefully assembled from making their voices heard, it threatens the very foundation of our democracy,” Choi said Friday.
‘A GOOD FIRST STEP’
Some people who attended the Trump rally were rankled when charges were not immediately brought. Jonathan Aanestad, who was Maced in the face at the rally, said Friday that the charges were “a good first step,” but he thought more than two people should have been charged with felonies.
“They committed political terrorism against many of my friends and political colleagues on March 4,” he said.
Aanestad said people were concerned that because Woody Kaine’s father is a high-profile Democrat, that “was a big reason why they were dragging their feet” in bringing charges.
But Choi and City Attorney Samuel Clark have said they did not know who Woody Kaine’s father was when they initially looked at the cases and investigators needed time “to unravel and clarify the events.”
“From the beginning, this has never been about what anybody had to say at the Capitol on March 4,” Clark said Friday. “It’s also never been about who the police arrested. In my mind, this has always been about making sure that people who seek to express themselves peacefully can do so free from fear of violence.”
CHARGES DESCRIBE SCENE AT THE CAPITOL
The pro-Trump rally, which had a permit, drew about 400 people, Choi said.
As it was starting, 75 to 125 anti-Trump protesters went into the Capitol and many were there peacefully, according to the criminal complaints. About 10 were in a group causing problems.
Security officers saw five people dressed in black leaving the Capitol, including one who threw a smoke bomb inside, according to complaints filed by the city attorney’s office. They went to a nearby spot and “tried to change their appearance by doing things like taking off their black clothing, putting on different jackets or hats, and turning their clothing inside out,” the complaints said.
When police approached, they scattered and ran. Steve Frazer, who was then a St. Paul police senior commander, chased a man who was later identified as Woody Kaine.
Frazer grabbed Kaine by the arm, but the young man “began to spin out of his clothing to get away,” the court document continued. Other officers arrived and Kaine “was swinging his arms and pushing at Sr. Cmdr. Frazer in an attempt to get away,” the complaint said. Police said in March that they had to use a “knee strike” and a chemical spray to arrest Kaine.
Kaine was summoned to appear in court. There was no attorney listed for him, or others charged, in court records.
“Today’s announcement of misdemeanor charges against Sen. Kaine’s son contains no suggestion that he engaged in disruptive behavior while at the rally, but are instead focused on his actions as he was arrested after he left,” said Miryam Lipper, Sen. Tim Kaine’s spokeswoman, in a statement. “Tim and Anne support their son and hope the matter is resolved soon.”
The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged Bueckert and Sager-Merek with prohibited use of tear gas, a felony, and third-degree riot, a gross misdemeanor. Bueckert is also charged with felony obstructing legal process.
The St. Paul city attorney’s office charged Vann-Jackson, also known as Austin Jackson, with use of an electronic incapacitation device and third-degree riot, both gross misdemeanors.
The city attorney’s office charged four others Friday with fleeing a peace officer on foot and concealing identity in a public place, which are misdemeanors: Jonathan Marc Adams, 26, of Minneapolis; Alexander Kimball, 26, of Minneapolis; Glenn Fredrick Kimball, 22, of Minneapolis; and Haley Marina Ryan, 23, of Webster, Minn. Alexander Kimball is also accused of possession of fireworks.