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Duluth prosecutors cite man who knocked phone out of a reporter's hand at counter rally

Duane Waldriff, of Lamberton, Minnesota, was cited with a misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.

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Duluth police are asking for information on a man who was involved in an altercation during President Donald Trump's visit to the city on Sept. 30. (Screenshot courtesy of Duluth Police Department)
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The Duluth City Attorney's Office has cited the man captured on video knocking the cellphone out of the hands of a Twin Cities reporter covering a counter-rally prior to the president's campaign visit Sept. 30 to Duluth.

Duane Waldriff, 70, of Lamberton, Minnesota, has been cited with a misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.

“Our office looked at all currently available evidence and asked the Duluth Police Department to issue a citation based on our review,” Duluth City Attorney Rebecca St. George said in a news release. “We take all criminal matters very seriously and will prosecute this case accordingly.”

Misdemeanors are punishable in Minnesota by a maximum of 90 days in jail, a maximum of a $1,000 fine or both.

WCCO-TV photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun was recording Waldriff, a Trump supporter, confronting a group of counter-protesters ahead of the president's visit when the man punched the phone out of the reporter's hand, according to WCCO. Chhoun was not injured.

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In a video of the altercation Waldriff can be heard saying: “You guys want to be peaceful? Be peaceful! You want to be violent? Come to me and I'll —."

The video ends with Chhoun picking up the phone and another Trump supporter approaching him, yelling, while holding a Trump-Pence campaign sign to block his face. The group then backed off, WCCO said.

The incident took place just before 6 p.m. Sept. 30 near the intersection of Airport Road and Venture Avenue where those supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had lined up for a counter-rally. The suspect left the scene before law enforcement arrived and the incident was reported to the Duluth Police Department shortly after.

Duluth police referred the case to city prosecutors Tuesday.

Aside from that incident, the News Tribune reported that the counter-protest was peaceful.

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