A UC Riverside student whose Make America Great Again hat was stolen by a female social justice activist is pressing charges against the thief. In response, the thief’s peers are calling on the university to protect her from the law and pay for her rent.
Last week, video of the altercation emerged on social media, showing UC Riverside student Edith Macias refusing to return a hat belonging to another student, Matthew Vitale. In the video, which was uploaded by Vitale, Macias can be seen ranting that the hat is causing “genocide” in America. She pleaded for school administrators to punish Vitale for exercising his First Amendment right.
Vitale’s video received over 4.5 million views before it was removed from Facebook. Vitale reuploaded it, but it has since been mirrored on various YouTube channels.
Stunned office workers are seen attempting to defuse the situation by asking Macias to give them the hat, which they promptly return to Vitale amid her increasingly wild protests.
“This is mine. You do not get to take other people’s property that is legally theirs in this county,” says Vitale, who is rebuffed by the female student.
“Man, fuck your laws,” snaps Macias. When Vitale says he has the freedom to wear the hat, she responds: “Your fucking freedom of speech is genocide, homeboy! Is that what you are trying to represent?”
Vitale, a member of UC Riverside College Republicans, says he has decided to press criminal theft charges against her. He had first declined to press charges after being told it would only be a misdemeanor, but decided later to do so after Macias herself uploaded a video on Facebook titled #SnatchAHat, which showed her grabbing the hat off his head.
“’Make America Great Again’ coded ‘Continue the Genocide of POC’. You feel safe cuz you got the cops and politicians on your side. Youre not safe… just saying. We need to make racists scared,” wrote Macias in a seemingly-illiterate caption that accompanied the video.
Wearing a Make America Great Again cap at UCR… Youre making the decision to intentionally hurt people. "Make America Great Again" coded "Continue the Genocide of POC". You feel safe cuz you got the cops and politicians on your side. Youre not safe… just saying. We need to make racists scared. Issa movement y'all. #SnatchAHat #FuckTrump #ChataFlies #Share #FTP
Posted by Edith Macias on Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Vitale was informed by campus police that the new evidence raises it to a felony theft charge. Speaking to The College Fix on Monday, Vitale said he wanted to take a stand.
“I do want to send a message,” Vitale said. “I am not vindictive, I am not vengeful, but people especially in my generation need to realize you can’t do things like this because you don’t like what someone is saying or wearing.”
“Free speech is under attack on campus,” he added. “As cliche as it sounds, the facts of our laws and our Constitution … don’t care about what you feel. For millennials everywhere who believe their feelings give them the right to step on the rights of others — you are sadly misguided. That is not the real world.”
Edith Macias’ friends have responded by rallying to her defense, demanding that the college protect her from any charges and even “pay for alternate housing accommodations for Macias and their family while simultaneously covering their current housing costs in order to keep them safe from threats of harm.”
As the statement implies, Macias identifies with the pronouns “they/them.”
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