Police hit Arizona protester with felony charges over safety pin on his pants
Jonathan McRae (Facebook)

A protester arrested at the Arizona State Capitol during a rambunctious hearing faces a felony because of a safety pin on his pants, according to the Phoenix New Times.


Protesters packed into the House hearing on Monday to denounce Arizona election officials over excessively long lines during last week's presidential primary election.

Jonathan McRae, 23, of Paulden, was arrested after "yelling and causing a disturbance in the gallery of the House of Representatives building," according to authorities. Video of the incident shows Department of Public Safety officers wrestling with McRae as they attempt to eject him from the House Elections Committee hearing.

"He clamped down on the seat that was there — on the armrest," State Department of Public Safety Capt. Damon Cecil told The Arizona Republic. "And troopers had to physically remove his arm ... from the armrest."

When officers later searched McRae, they asked him if he had any weapons. McRae replied that he did not. But an officer who was patting down McRae was pricked by a safety pin on McRae's shorts. "The safety pin was attached to the subject's shorts and was pointing out so that the sharp needle end was facing outward. The end safety cap of the safety pin had been removed," court documents stated.

The pin prick led McRae to be charged with aggravated assault on an officer -- a felony charge.

A Facebook page set up to support McRae claims that the safety pin became unlatched during his struggle with law enforcement:

"The safety pin was holding on an article of clothing which was torn from him by the police, and in the process, tearing the safety cover from the end. Let me ask, if a person, while being brutalized by the police, had the screen of his phone broken inside his pocket was asked if he had anything that might injure the officer and said no, would he be guilty of assault if the cop cut his finger on the glass or got a sliver of glass? He did not know the safety pin had been broken, how could he with his face against the ground as the largest officer in the company walked back and forth on top of him?"

The Facebook page said officers "really battered him."

McRae has also been charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespassing in the third degree.