Candidate jailed in middle-finger, assault case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A congressional candidate from Indiana was arrested Friday in Louisville after allegedly assaulting a Kentucky State Police officer and giving him the bird.

Russell Brooksbank, 45, of Clarksville, Ind., who is a Libertarian candidate in Indiana's 9th Congressional District, was stopped by police along National Turnpike around 10:30 a.m. after the officer pulled him over for improperly signaling by "using only his middle finger," according to a Jefferson County arrest citation.

During the stop, the officer notified Brooksbank he was pulled over for the signal and asked for his driver's license, insurance and registration, the citation said. Brooksbank refused and notified the officer he was going to record the interaction on his phone.

As he was reaching for his phone, the officer asked him three additional times to provide the information, but Brooksbank did not follow commands, the citation said. The officer attempted to take the phone, citing the unsafe location of the traffic stop.

While the officer reached for the phone, Brooksbank grabbed the officer's left arm and attempted to pull him into the vehicle through the driver-side window, the citation said. The officer pulled back, ripping Brooksbank's shirt before he was able to open the door and place him under arrest.

Brooksbank was booked on charges of third-degree assault of a police officer, obstruction/interference with a police officer, and failure to or improper signal, court records show. He is being held without bond and is scheduled to be arraigned in Jefferson District Court on Saturday.

Even if he convicted of a crime, Brooksbank would legally be allowed to run and hold office, according to Indiana election guidelines. He is running against Democrat Shelli Yoder and Republican Trey Hollingsworth in the race for the 9th District.

Shawn Bostock, a Libertarian candidate for Commissioner District 2 in Clark County, said he has a hard time believing Brooksbank assaulted the officer because Brooksbank is a pacificist and advocates anti-aggression. He said Brooksbank sent a text message to Kelly Curan, chair of Clark County Libertarian party, while he was being arrested.

In the text message, which was forwarded to The Courier-Journal, Brooksbank said he was arrested for contempt of cop after the "officer thought I was flipping him off."

Bostock said he would be frustrated if Brooksbank was indeed pulled over for an act of "freedom of speech." It would fit into the Libertarian campaign, which is against the "overcriminalization of everything," he said.

Bostock said the party is currently waiting to see the outcome of his arraignment before deciding on a next step.

Sgt. Jason Morris, spokesman for Kentucky State Police's commercial vehicle enforcement unit out of Louisville, said he cannot comment on whether or not Brooksbank is an aggressive individual because he has no knowledge of any past offenses. If Brooksbank did indeed flip the officer off, Morris said he'd be considered "an aggressive individual."

He declined further comment, citing an ongoing and pending investigation.


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