Video Surfaces of Alleged Assault in New Bedford on Republican Candidate
A Republican candidate in Massachusetts' Seventh Congressional District claimed Monday that she was assaulted by two women after she left a pro-Trump rally in New Bedford on Columbus Day.
Video has surfaced of the alleged attack which suggests Campbell may have played a role in instigating the attack.
In a public Facebook post to her official campaign page, Rayla Campbell told her supporters that she is OK.
"Two individuals, both female, physically confronted and then assaulted me," Campbell wrote. "I got kicked in the head and have a fractured tibia. I'm sore, that is all."
Monday's Trump rally took place at the intersection of Route 6 and Route 140. It was slated to be the last local standout for President Trump before the election, according to organizers.
WBSM's Barry Richard was provided an exclusive video of the incident. We provide the video here for you to view with a warning that there are not only acts of violence committed in the video but also strong profanity throughout and the video should be considered not suitable for younger viewers:
The video suggests that Campbell may have had a hand in instigating the incident as it unfolded in a grocery store parking lot. A woman who appears to be Campbell, based on the clothing she is wearing in photos taken at the event, is seen in the video approaching a car with a megaphone in hand. The driver and passenger both exit the vehicle, as Campbell shouts at the driver through the megaphone. The driver attempts to push the megaphone away, and as Campbell asks, "You want to go?" (common vernacular for asking if someone wishes to fight), the driver responds, "I'll f--- you up" before the driver, who has her cell phone in hand to apparently capture the encounter on video, turns her attention to the man shooting the video obtained by Richard.
The video then continues with the driver and the man shooting the video taunting one another until the 2:45 mark, when it appears that Campbell re-enters the shot and is again taunting the driver through the megaphone. The driver then appears to attempt to push the megaphone away, and Campbell makes what appears to be a move toward the driver. The driver then gives Campbell a shove backward.
The passenger then appears to take a fighting stance against Campbell, as Campbell once again asks, "You want to f---ing do this?" Campbell appears to then make a move toward the passenger, and a tussle ensues between the two women. It is seemingly unclear from the video who initiated the physical attack.
WBSM News has reached out to the New Bedford Police Department and confirmed that police did respond to the scene. Police spokesperson Melissa Batchilder provided the following statement regarding any charges or arrests:
"We responded to an incident and are in the process of conducting an investigation. If the investigation supports the violation of any criminal law, we will initiate criminal proceedings. Please note that this investigation is ongoing and we will have more information later today."
Campbell, a Republican from Randolph, is running as a write-in candidate against high-profile Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.
Campbell is running as a write-in candidate after failing to gather enough signatures to get her name on the Sept. 1 primary ballot. She previously sued Secretary of State William Galvin over the COVID-era reduced signature threshold of 1,000, saying the threshold should be lower in her district. On appeal, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on July 13 ruled against her.
In her lawsuit, Campbell had argued that COVID-19 had disproportionately affected the district due to its majority-minority demographics, and asserted that the small percentage of Republican voters in the district further hindered her efforts. Campell also argued that several municipalities are split between different congressional districts, making it difficult to determine who is a registered voter and eligible to sign her nomination papers.
The SJC acknowledged that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, but declined to change the state's uniform signature threshold depending upon the particular circumstances of each of the state's nine congressional districts.