Police have made one arrest after a canvasser supporting the reelection campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. was beaten down on the street in Hialeah, Florida.
Rubio tweeted Monday that the canvasser was attacked Sunday night by four people who supposedly told him Republicans were not allowed in their area.
“Last night one of our canvassers wearing my T-shirt and a Desantis hat was brutally attacked by 4 animals who told him Republicans weren’t allowed in their neighborhood in #Hialeah #Florida,” Rubio posted. “He suffered internal bleeding, a broken jaw & will need facial reconstructive surgery.”
According to a police report published by Local 10 News, one suspect in the attack was identified as Javier Lopez. The report said Lopez allegedly was blocking the sidewalk while the canvasser was trying to pass by. The canvasser then tried to walk toward the other side of the street to get around him when Lopez allegedly said, “You can’t pass by here, this is my neighborhood.”
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After the victim said it was public property and he could be there, an argument ensued and Lopez allegedly rushed at him, grabbed him, and slammed him on the ground.
The police report did not make any mention of any other attackers, although it said a third party intervened at one point by kicking Lopez in the face before escaping. The report said Lopez then continued attacking the canvasser by punching him in the face repeatedly.
The canvasser suffered “severe swelling” on his face, with his right eye swelling shut and “severe swelling and bleeding” from being hit in the mouth.
Hialeah police told Local 10 News that there was “no indication” that the attack was politically motivated but that they would “allow the investigation to reveal that.” Fox News has reached out to the Hialeah Police Department for more information and is awaiting a response.
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Hialeah is a city in South Florida’s Miami-Dade County with a population of more than 236,000 people. Its mayor, Esteban Bovo, is a Republican.
Bovo told Fox News that he spoke to the canvasser’s father and that the canvasser’s condition is improving. The mayor also said the investigation was “looking at others that may have participated.”
As far as whether the attack was politically motivated, Bovo said he did want to jump to conclusions.
“But we do know the facts,” he added. “He was wearing a Rubio T-shirt, he had a DeSantis hat on, he was canvassing, and he was beaten and beaten severely.”
The canvasser, identified by WSVN and other local media as Christopher Monzon, had been connected to some White nationalist causes. In a 2021 interview, he admitted to the previous use of racial slurs but tried to distance himself. “I do not condone the usage of such language. While I might have used the language in the past, I no longer believe that using those slurs is acceptable.”
Rubio is in the middle of a tight race against Democrat Rep. Val Demings, who is a former chief of the Orlando Police. Her campaign spoke out against the attack.
“Chief Demings strongly condemns all acts of violence and the attackers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” a Demings campaign spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News. “Campaign volunteers deserve to feel safe in every neighborhood, and we’re praying for a speedy recovery for the canvasser who was attacked last night.”