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Man in mask altercation with Texas gubernatorial candidate Allen West says he wants to press charges

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Controversy has dogged former Texas GOP chairman Allen West his entire political career. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
  • Controversy has dogged former Texas GOP chairman Allen West his entire political career.

A man involved in an airport scuffle with Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West wants to press charges, alleging West "violently" tore off the mask he was wearing, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Lawrence Eric Stern told the paper that a detective at DFW International Airport informed him the case had been presented to the Grapevine Municipal Court. 

The confrontation happened earlier this month after Stern called out West for not wearing a mask in the airport, a violation of current federal law, according to the Morning News report. Tea Partier West has made COVID-19 denial a key part of his political brand, even as he was recently hospitalized by the virus.

After a heated exchange of words with Stern, West got physical, according to the police report cited by the Morning News.

“Mr. Stern stated Mr. West then hit Mr. Stern on the right side of the face as he grabbed the mask off Mr. Stern’s face,” according to the report cited by the paper. “Mr. Stern stated he shoved Mr. West back to get him away ...”

West gave his side of the story in a Nov. 3 tweet, maintaining that he only "pulled down [Stern's] mask and said, 'See, nothing happened.'"

If Stern presses charges, it would likely only result in a Class C Misdemeanor charge against West, meaning a fine rather than time in the clink, according to the Morning News.

It's also unclear whether such a charge would have any significant impact on the campaign. West trails Republican Gov. Greg Abbott by double digits in recent polls. Too boot, controversy has dogged the former Florida congressman his entire political career, so hey, what's one more?

As former head of the Texas GOP, West faced allegations of instigating fights with fellow party members and that he gave the group a new slogan that was a QAnon dog whistle. West retired as a U.S. Army officer amid accusations of using harsh interrogation tactics and ultimately paid a fine over those charges.

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