The man who pushed a megaphone at Indian American senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai last month has been fined and placed on probation over the incident.
Paul Solovay, 74, of Hillsdale, has also been ordered to attend anger management classes. The ruling was given by judge Paul Vrabel in Southern Berkshire District Court on Aug. 16, the Berkshire Eagle reported.
Solovay, who was charged with assault and battery, will serve nine months of probation and a 10-week anger management class, along with a $150 fine. He will additionally serve 60 days of probation for the disorderly conduct charge, the report added.
“I understand that there [were] oppositional beliefs on both sides of that street on that day, but I believe that the defendant really lost his cool in that circumstance when he turned to violence rather than just understanding … somebody else’s … point of view and accepting free speech within this country,” Assistant District Attorney Dana Parsons said during the Aug. 16 proceeding, the publication added.
Solovay’s attorney, Louis Oggiani, said that his client did not require anger management classes, and that he was instigated by Ayyadurai calling him a racist.
“My client is anything but a racist,” Oggiani said, according to the report. “So, I’m not sure if it was really a violent act, but nevertheless it was assault and battery,” Oggiani added. “He apologized; he should not have had that kind of response … he’s embarrassed.”
Ayyadurai, who was called in the court, later posted an excerpt of his speech on Twitter.
“We need discourse and free speech to discuss important issues such as race and racism, as Americans,” he said. “For far too long in America, those claiming to fight racism, liberal or otherwise, have monopolized that discourse and have no right to use violence to suppress opposing views.”
Ayyadurai, the 54-year-old Massachusetts scientist running as an independent challenger to incumbent Elizabeth Warren from the Democratic party, suffered a bloody lip in the assault when Solovay confronted him, and pushed a bullhorn into his face at a town hall on July 22.
The incident, which took place outside the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center before a town hall hosted by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, was tweeted by Ayyadurai. “I was just punched in face by a racist @SenWarren supporter,” he posted on the social media platform.
Warren responded to the incident a few days later, denouncing it and saying that her events are meant to “inspire” civil discourse.