An Alabama man charged with puncturing a “baby Trump” balloon quickly raised more than six times the amount he needed to cover legal expenses for his defense on Nov. 10.
A fundraising campaign for Northport local Hoyt Deau Hutchinson has raised more than $36,375, eclipsing his original $6,000 target to help defend a first-degree criminal mischief charge from Tuscaloosa Police Department.
The 32-year-old allegedly used a knife to deflate the 20 foot tall balloon because he thought it was “disrespectful” to the president who was watching a University of Alabama football game at the time of the incident.
“[I] made sure our beloved president did not have to see this disrespectful balloon on the streets of T-town,” Hutchinson said on Gofundme.
He vowed to use the money towards legal expenses and restitutions, and donate the remainder to Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential reelection campaign.
“Thank you for all the support. [It] makes the whole situation easier to deal with knowing fellow patriots stand with us,” Hutchinson said. “All proceeds not needed for legal fees will be donated to the Trump2020 campaign to further support this great country.”
Officers arrested Hutchinson in Monnish Park at 1501 Hackberry Lane in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 9 about 1 p.m. local time after they allegedly saw him slicing into the balloon.
“[The suspect] then attempted to flee the area. Officers apprehended the suspect and took him into custody on a charge of criminal mischief first degree,” police said on Facebook. “Hoyt was transported to Tuscaloosa County Jail where he was held on a $2,500 bond.”
The Associated Press could not confirm whether Hutchinson had appointed an attorney at the time of publication.
Balloon owner Jim Girvan claimed Hutchinson created an 8 foot long gash along the back of the balloon, which resembles Trump wearing a diaper and holding a cellphone.
“Baby Trump” has previously been used as a way to protest against the president during his official visit to the United Kingdom. One person allegedly stabbed the balloon while it flew in London earlier in the year.
The balloon has since been replicated and used in the United States. Volunteer Robert Kennedy said the “Baby Trump” had made several public appearances and not previously been attacked.
He recalled the day went smoothly with some passerbys shouting “Trump 2020” until Hutchinson allegedly sliced into the material and caused the balloon to immediately sag.
“It is rare to get that kind of anger,” Kennedy said according to the Associated Press.