GOP Congressional Candidate Gets Into Scuffle With Teens Over 'Say No to Joe' Campaign Sign

Washington GOP congressional candidate Craig Keller was involved in an altercation with a group of teenagers over a sign opposed to Joe Biden in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood on Wednesday.

Videos of the incident show the group of teens attempting to steal Keller's sign, which displayed the phrase "Jus Say No 2 Slo Joe," during a roadside rally for President Donald Trump and the state's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Loren Culp.

In one video, a young girl can be seen trying to take the sign from Keller. He kicks and pushes her away from him and onto the street as oncoming cars try to drive by.

Two other teenagers then take the sign and run off, with Keller chasing after them. At one point, Keller is seen falling on the ground and grabbing one of the teens by his ankles as another one stomps on the sign in the background.

On Thursday, the first teen wrote in an Instagram post that Keller exposed him during the attack.

"Before I knew it my pants were being pulled down, he tried to expose me, ended up ripping my pants while I kicked and flailed before being helped up by a stranger," the teenager wrote. He said that the friends in the group were between the ages of 12 and 15.

After pushing away the teen who stomped on the sign, the congressional candidate confronts one of the girls in the group. "It's not your property," he tells her.

"You shouldn't have kicked her in the street," another teen can be heard saying. "You kicked a little girl in the street."

Soon after, the camera captures an unidentified adult man wearing a blue shirt and a Make America Great Again hat grabbing one of the teens, picking him up and body-slamming him onto the ground, causing an outcry from witnesses.

In an email, Keller told Newsweek that the event was "nothing" and that "if anything the sign's theft and retrieval was orchestrated" by the teens, whom he called "children of the corn" (a reference to a 1984 horror film). He also denied that he had grabbed a teen by the ankles or pulled down his pants.

Keller told Seattle's KIRO-TV that the teenagers' actions violated his First Amendment rights. "Those children were ripping away our signs and trying to steal them," he said. "We just tried to pursue them and get our sign back." He also blamed schools for producing "corrupted" kids.

Keller is running against Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal in the 7th District race.

trump signs
Supporters hold up signs during a campaign event for President Donald Trump in Henderson, Nevada, on September 13. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Getty

One teen involved in the incident told KIRO that the teens "acted on impulse" as they attempted to voice their opinions on the upcoming presidential election.

"Just kind of clicked in my mind: Hey, stand up for what you believe in," the teen told the news station.

As for the unidentified man body-slamming one of the kids, Keller told KIRO he didn't know who he was but thought the man was simply trying to defend him. "I believe that other fellow was trying to keep the other kids from surrounding me," he said.

Seattle police said that they responded to and documented the incident, but neither side decided to press charges, according to KIRO.

Newsweek reached out to the Seattle Police Department for further comment but did not hear back in time for publication.