A Brazilian woman accused of assaulting a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat at a Mexican restaurant in Falmouth earlier this month now faces possible deportation after police learned she is an illegal immigrant.
Rosiane Santos, 41, is accused of assaulting 23-year-old Bryton Turner of Mashpee, who was out to dinner with friends at Casa Vallarta wearing a “MAGA” hat.
Santos was arrested Feb. 15 for assault and battery and disorderly conduct.
Santos was taken into ICE custody Tuesday morning and was released later that day. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman John Mohan said she is a citizen of Brazil who had overstayed her tourist visa in 1994.
Mohan said Santos was released under orders to appear before an immigration judge at a future date.
In a video taken by Turner, Santos is seen pulling Turner’s MAGA hat over his face and taunting him. Turner told the Herald that Santos confronted him in the restaurant right away.
“The minute I walked in, she said, ‘What does your hat say?’ So I tilted my head to show her and she said, ‘Why would you wear that hat?'” Turner said. “I told her it’s America I can wear this hat, I can wear any hat wherever I want.”
Turner said he continued to eat his meal but Santos was telling the bartender to “poison his drink.”
“She just grabbed my hat and started throwing it and I was trying to hang onto it,” Turner said. “I was just in shock that somebody would act this way.”
Turner said the bartender asked Santos to calm down and leave the bar.
Santos did not respond to requests for comment. A police report said Santos told cops that Turner “shouldn’t be allowed in a Mexican restaurant with that hat.”
Police reported that Santos smelled like alcohol and was slurring her speech. As cops escorted her out of the restaurant, she allegedly hit Turner over the head and refused to cooperate with police.
Turner told the Herald he bought the MAGA hat about a month ago and wears it often, but has never been confronted over it before.
“I am absolutely going to keep wearing it because if I stop wearing it these people win,” said Turner. “There is an attack on freedom of speech these days, especially the MAGA hat.”
Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies said of Santos’ release that ICE “doesn’t have detention space to hold everyone.”
“ICE has its hands full dealing with drug traffickers, gang members and a lot of drunk drivers,” she said.
But Vaughn added, “It was a hate crime motivated by her animus toward President Trump and his supporters, and that’s very serious.”
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