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Misdemeanor charge filed in ‘Make America Great Again’ hat incident at UC Riverside

By in Press Enterprise on November 22, 2017

By Michael Watanabe

A UC Riverside student seen in a viral video grabbing a fellow student’s pro-Trump hat has been charged with misdemeanor grand theft.

The charge against Edith Macias was filed Nov. 3, and a warrant for her arrest was granted Nov. 13, court records show. She has not yet been detained or entered a plea.

The statute under which she was charged says grand theft applies when property is taken off somebody’s body.

The incident happened Sept. 27 at a training event for student organizations at UCR. Student Matthew Lawrence Vitale wore a red baseball cap with President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Several videos of what happened were posted online, though some have since been taken down. One shows Macias grabbing the hat off Vitale’s head and running out of the room.

Welp this happened today. #MakeRacistsAfraidAgain #SnatchAHat pic.twitter.com/PyJFIjMeg5

— Panchita (@Lapancheese) September 28, 2017

Vitale himself began filming as Macias brought the hat into the Student Life office and asked staff whether the hat should be allowed on campus. “This represents genocide,” Macias says in the video.

Vitale counters that that freedom of speech allows him to wear the hat and that he wants his property back.

Macias eventually gives university officials the hat. The 9-minute video ends as two men in what appear to be UCR police uniforms enter the office.

Editor’s note: The video below contains profane language.

The situation was referred to the Office of Student Conduct

At the time of the incident, UC Riverside spokesman John Warren said the university was talking to both students and offering assistance in dealing with the situation.

“Federal privacy laws prevent the University from commenting on student conduct matters,” he said, “but UC Riverside stands by its deep commitment to freedom of expression, civil discourse, and […]    

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