D.C. police charged two women with simple assault after an altercation that led to a Black special police officer punching a white supporter of President Donald Trump, an incident caught in a video that went viral.
The licensed, unarmed officer, Ashanti Smith, says she was acting in self-defense.
“It was a large group of protesters coming down, and they were screaming racial slurs and screaming, 'F Antifa, F Antifa,'” Smith said.
She says she was on break from her security job in downtown D.C. last Tuesday — the day before pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol — when protesters questioned who she was with.
“They didn't have masks,” she said. “They proceed to try to take my mask off of my face. I was on Instagram live just to protect myself and also show everyone what was going on.”
Someone with Freedom News TV saw the clash and captured Smith just as she punched a pro-Trump protester who reached for her.
“Three gentlemen, they grabbed me, but at the time, one of them hit, me and then they dragged me to the police line,” Smith said.
Then a woman who was with the injured protester hit Smith on the back of her head. Police identified her as Anne Lorenz, who was charged with simple assault and assault on an officer, according to charging documents.
Smith was charged with assault on the protester she punched.
Smith's attorney says his client was lucky.
“Considering what we saw this group of people, or the group at large do the following day, I think it could have been a lot worse for Ms. Smith,” defense attorney Brandon Burrell said.
News4 reached out to Lorenz's attorney for comment on what happened but has not heard back.
Smith said she is on leave from her job as they investigate exactly what happened.
More than $70,000 has been raised for Smith’s legal defense through GoFundMe.