Paso Robles police are recommending a misdemeanor charge be filed against a resident who allegedly chased an employee of Justin Fareed’s congressional campaign down a street and punched him in the back while the staffer was walking door-to-door last month.
Paso Robles police Cmdr. Caleb Davis said the agency concluded its investigation Wednesday and plans to forward its report to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office recommending prosecutors file a charge of assault against resident Charles Bart.
A 27-second cell phone video of the incident, taken by the Fareed campaign’s San Luis Obispo County field director Isaac Schick, and posted Friday to Fareed’s YouTube channel, opens with Bart chasing Schick down a neighborhood street.
“What the f--- is your problem?” Schick asks Bart.
“Yeah, you gonna put that on the internet?” Bart shouts back.
“Yes! Why are you attacking me?” Schick replies as the two stand in the middle of the street.
Bart: “Because you’re lying!”
Schick: “What am I lying about?”
As Bart turns and walks away, he begins to speak when Schick, who now begins following Bart, says, “Sir, you’re being reported for assault.”
Bart stops and turns toward Schick, replying, “I didn’t give you permission to take pictures.”
“You’re going to be reported for assault, sir,” Schick repeats.
As Schick continues to follow him, Bart turns and says, “What? Good! Go ahead!”
As Bart walks away, the video ends.
Asked what the video didn’t capture, Schick said Tuesday that he was canvassing on Bel Air Place on behalf of Fareed’s campaign, knocked on Bart’s door and introduced himself as working for the campaign.
“Almost immediately after I mentioned Justin Fareed’s name, he bursts into profanities, everything under the sun,” Schick said.
He said he told Bart he was leaving and began walking off Bart’s property. Once he reached the street, Schick said he pulled out his cell phone because Bart was right behind him, shouting.
Schick said Bart bolted towards him and punched him once in the back as he ran away. The video did not capture the punch because he missed the record button on his first attempt as he was running, Schick said. The incident ended when the video does, he said.
Schick reported the incident that day and says he’s been in contact with investigators since.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Bart said he also reported the incident to the Paso Police Department and was only recently contacted by officers this week. Bart said he was aware the Fareed campaign had picked up Schick’s video but declined to comment further, saying he’s “not going to get involved.”
On Friday, Fareed campaign manager Austin Stukins sent a mass email to subscribers titled, “UNHINGED MAN ASSAULTS JUSTIN FAREED FOR CONGRESS CAMPAIGN CANVASSER,” and claims in a subhead that Schick, a Cal Poly college student, was “attacked while encouraging neighbors to vote.”
The email features a link to the video and a statement from Fareed, a Republican, denouncing alleged “political violence” from Democrats.
“In the last few weeks, Democrat leaders have ratcheted up calls for violence, taking the political climate to a new low,” the campaign email reads, citing comments made by former Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, and a comment allegedly made by Sen. Cory Booker.
“This type of behavior will never be acceptable to me, regardless of which side of the political spectrum it comes from,” Fareed wrote in the email. “I call on Salud Carbajal to join me in renouncing those who call for or incite acts of violence in our country, our state and particularly our own district.”
On Wednesday, Carbajal did just that.
“This type of behavior was absolutely unacceptable, there is no place in our political discourse for assault or intimidation,” Carbajal wrote in a statement to The Tribune. “While we can strongly disagree on the issues, we must do so with respect and civility for one another.”
Carbajal spokeswoman Tess Whittlesey said Bart has no affiliation with his campaign and a Federal Elections Commission search does not show any political contributions tied to Bart.
Fareed is challenging Carbajal for the 24th Congressional District seat, which represents San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and northern Ventura counties.
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