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Man ‘assaults boy for not taking hat off during US national anthem’

By David Chipakupaku, news reporter

A man has been charged with the assault of a minor in Montana after witnesses say he threw a 13-year-old to the floor for "disrespecting the national anthem".

Curt James Brockway, 39, was arrested at a county rodeo on Saturday, telling police he asked the boy to remove his hat out of respect before the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner.

The boy swore at Brockway, at which point the 39-year-old grabbed the child by the throat, "lifted him into the air and slammed the boy into the ground," according to recently released court documents.

Image: Colin Kapernick sparked controversy by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016

Details about the condition of the boy were not originally released, but the new documents filed by the county's attorney Ellen Donohue say the boy was flown to a hospital in Washington state for a possible concussion and fractured skull.

The boy has since been released from hospital.

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A witness, Taylor Hennick, was at the rodeo at the time of the alleged attack.

She told local media that she heard a "pop", then saw the boy on the ground with blood coming from his ears.

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Ms Hennick said the alleged attacker told her the boy "was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that."

Ms Donohue wrote that an unnamed witness agreed with Brockway's version of events, but that they did not hear him asking the child to remove his hat.

Brockway made his first court appearance on Monday, where the prosecution recommended his bail be set at $100,000 (£82,000).

It is not the first time that conduct during the playing of the national anthem has been an issue in the US.

In 2016, NFL player Colin Kaepernick knelt on one knee during the playing of the anthem to protest against the treatment of minorities.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour," he said at the time.

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