The Spitting Image

by | Sep 14, 2016

 

The Gainesville Police Department and state attorney’s office are reviewing evidence relating to an incident that occurred between State Representative Keith Perry and a spitting-mad man named Norman Leppla. According to one source, the Gainesville Police Department is inexplicably recommending charges against Perry, in spite of clear evidence he was assaulted and spat upon. Fortunately for Perry, because they did not witness the event in person, the final decision rests with the state attorney.

Based on video evidence released this morning, it appears that Perry was potentially assaulted or even battered twice before finally responding by reaching out and pushing or slapping Leppla away from him. Should he have reacted that way? Many are apt to say no, and Perry even says he regrets his response in a written statement:

“Anyone who knows me, knows that it takes quite a bit to rile me up. What began as a silly disagreement over a legal campaign yard sign – that was authorized by the owner to be placed in his yard – escalated, and for my part in that, I apologize.

“As you can clearly see in the video, I approached Mr. Leppla in good faith to resolve the issue and at one point, he even agreed to help place the sign back where he found it. I did not react when he chest-bumped me, the first contact made by either of us. In fact, it wasn’t until he made threatening comments to my wife and spit in my face that I pushed him away to prevent him from spitting on me again.”

Still, Perry is a human being. Regardless of the alleged misunderstanding that led to the eventual altercation, Norman Leppla appears to chest bump him and use his body to push Perry backwards  (which prosecutors could say is either assault or battery), and then Leppla spits in Perry’s face – another act that could be classified by prosecutors as battery. If so, Perry’s slap / push in response to being spat on should be considered self-defense.

Watch the looping footage for yourself. Here’s the chest-bump / push:

via GIPHY

And here’s the spitting / slapping incident.

via GIPHY

All in all, Norman Leppla will be lucky if he’s not the one that ends up charged with a crime.

Here’s a the full statement from Rep. Perry:

Representative Keith Perry today released the following statement regarding Saturday’s disagreement over a campaign yard sign:

“Anyone who knows me, knows that it takes quite a bit to rile me up. What began as a silly disagreement over a legal campaign yard sign – that was authorized by the owner to be placed in his yard – escalated, and for my part in that, I apologize.

“As you can clearly see in the video, I approached Mr. Leppla in good faith to resolve the issue and at one point, he even agreed to help place the sign back where he found it. I did not react when he chest-bumped me, the first contact made by either of us. In fact, it wasn’t until he made threatening comments to my wife and spit in my face that I pushed him away to prevent him from spitting on me again.”

“Monday I released a statement indicating this had been resolved, because that was what I was led to believe. It is my understanding that Mr. Leppla attempted on multiple occasions to dismiss his complaint with calls to GPD and the officer handling the case. Unfortunately, the officer was off duty until later Monday afternoon, and by 4:00 p.m. when he called back, the case had already been moved to the State’s Attorney office – a procedural development that prevented Mr. Leppla from withdrawing his complaint.

“While I have the opportunity to bring charges against Mr. Leppla, I have no intentions of escalating this any further.  For anybody offended by my actions I humbly apologize.”

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