Bryton Turner said he was trying to enjoy a nice meal.
Although you cannot see what the 23-year-old Mashpee resident was eating at Casa Vallarta in Falmouth, in the video he shot you can see what he was wearing: a hoodie sweatshirt and a red “Make America Great Again” hat. Less than three seconds into the video, the MAGA hat is knocked off his head.
“People like that, that’s the problem, the problem with America these days,” Mr. Turner says in the video. “People are just ignorant. They want to lash out on people who are educated.”
The woman who police say knocked the MAGA cap off his head was Rosiane V. Santos, 41, of East Falmouth Highway, East Falmouth. She was charged with disorderly conduct and assault and battery.
Eleven days after her arrest, Ms. Santos was taken into custody by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for being unlawfully in the United States. She was released and provided with a notice to appear before an immigration judge at a future date.
The entire episode began at 8:02 PM on Friday, February 15, when police responded to a report of “an extremely drunk female in an altercation with a male” at Casa Vallarta, a restaurant on Davis Straits, according to Police Lieutenant Douglas M. DeCosta.
Patrol Officer Newton J. Cardoso, one of the responding officers, wrote in his report that “Bryton stated that he was just minding his own business when Rosiane began to verbally assault him, due to his ‘Make America Great Again’ hat.
“He pulled out his phone and began to record the incident,” Officer Cardoso wrote. “In the video, Rosiane walks behind him and hits Bryton’s hat off his head.”
Her defense attorney, J. Drew Segadelli, said Mr. Turner is not the victim here.
“The young ‘victim,’ Turner, while he didn’t get up or push her physically, was definitely baiting or goading Ms. Santos to get a particular reaction out of her, much to his satisfaction,” Mr. Segadelli said yesterday in a phone interview.
He said this does not excuse Ms. Santos’s immature reaction, but does mitigate it.
“He baited her—race-baiting, if you want to call it that—and she reacted to it,” Mr. Segadelli said.
He said the MAGA cap was not the issue here.
“All of the media attention is focused on the hat the gentleman was wearing, instead of what really happened,” Mr. Segadelli said. “If he had a Falmouth High School or Boston Bruins hat, it wouldn’t get this media exposure. It would not, and I think that is unfortunate.”
But Officer Cardoso said the MAGA cap, in fact, was part of a wider issue.
“She also stated that he shouldn’t be allowed in a Mexican restaurant with that hat,” Officer Cardoso wrote.
He wrote that Ms. Santos described Mr. Turner as an “[expletive] for supporting Trump.”
Police say they attempted to escort Ms. Santos, who they said was intoxicated, from the restaurant.
“The bar area is very narrow, and we had to walk by Bryton in order to exit,” Officer Cardoso wrote. “While passing by Bryton, Rosiane hit him over the head again, in front of us.”
Patrol Officer Julia E. Massi, who also had responded to the scene, wrote that Ms. Santos “stopped behind the male wearing the red hat, grabbed his hat and moved it around in a circular motion while violently pushing his head down towards the bar.”
Mr. Segadelli, however, said the altercation was not violent.
“Her taking his hat or rubbing his hat on his head, what hockey players call shampooing, is a far cry from her hitting him, whacking him or driving his head into the counter, like some of the ridiculous accounts I’ve heard,” he said.
A video by Mr. Turner shows the aftermath of Ms. Santos’s arrest.
“Rosie is not doing too hot right now,” Mr. Turner said in the video. “I don’t know what happened. She just tried to grab my hat in front of four officers. Not smart. She is getting cuffed. Have a nice night in a cell, Rosie.”
Ms. Santos was arraigned at Falmouth District Court on February 20, where she pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and assault and battery. A pretrial hearing is set for March 25. She was released on personal recognizance.
On Tuesday, February 26, she was arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Deportation officers with ICE’s Fugitive Operations Team arrested Rosiane Santos, an unlawfully present citizen of Brazil, today near Falmouth, Massachusetts,” said John Mohan, public affairs officer with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in a statement on Tuesday.
Ms. Santos went before an immigration judge that same day.
“She has since been released from ICE custody after being entered into removal proceedings in the federal immigration courts and provided a Notice to Appear at a future date before an immigration judge,” Mr. Mohan said.
Mr. Segadelli said the immigration judge is the only party who looked at this case soberly.
“She wasn’t ‘under the radar’ or ‘hiding,’ “ Mr. Segadelli said. “She was in the process of being recognized by the US appropriately with a visa. She is awaiting her blessing by this country.”
He said Ms. Santos, a Brazillian immigrant, has been in the country for more than 25 years. She is married with two children.
Mr. Segadelli said the immigration judge, realizing these facts, immediately released her.
“This practitioner is in court daily dealing with real crimes, as opposed to this kid in a bar, lawfully wearing a hat and lawfully exercising his First Amendment rights, who goaded Ms. Santos into a reaction,” Mr. Segadelli said.
He argued Mr. Turner’s reaction in the video shows Ms. Santos’s reaction was not violent.
“The kid is laughing and thinks it was very comical,” he said.
Attorney Katarina Kozakova of Joyce & Associates, who is representing Ms. Santos on immigration matters, declined to comment for this story. Mr. Turner and the staff at Casa Vallarta also declined to comment.