A grown man allegedly fractured a boy's skull because the 13-year-old didn't remove his hat as the national anthem played at a county fair. The boy was flown to a hospital in Spokane, Wash., after he was thrown to ground at the Mineral County Fair in Superior, Mont., on Saturday, per USA Today. He had cursed at Curt James Brockway after the 39-year-old asked him to remove his hat, according to court documents cited by the AP. Brockway then grabbed the boy by the throat, "lifted him into the air and slammed [him] into the ground." Brockway claimed the boy "was disrespecting the national anthem, so he had every right to do that," even as the victim lay on the ground, bleeding from the ear, one witness tells the Missoulian. She describes hearing a "pop."
The boy was later found to have temporal skull fractures. "I don't remember anything—the rodeo, the helicopter—nothing," he says, per KPAX. He's now out of the hospital but describes "a lot of pain in my head." His parents say he was still bleeding from the ear almost six hours after being slammed to the ground. The AP reports "there was no indication the boy … was protesting in any way," though the US flag code says men not in uniform should remove their hats when the national anthem is played, and that all should place their right hand over their heart. Brockway—a registered violent offender serving 10 years on probation for a 2010 charge of assault with a weapon—is now charged with assault on a minor. His arraignment is set for next Wednesday. (Read more assault stories.)