- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A Rand Paul supporter apologized on Tuesday after he was seen on video stepping on a liberal activist’s head.

Tim Profitt, a volunteer with Mr. Rand’s U.S. Senate campaign, told the Associated Press on Tuesday the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was. He criticized police for not stepping in and says other supporters warned authorities about the activist.

The Paul campaign cut ties with Mr. Profitt, removing him from his role as Bourbon County campaign coordinator and banning him from campaign events.

Lauren Valle, the 23-year-old activist with the group MoveOn.org, said she was sore and swollen Tuesday morning after she scuffled with Paul supporters.

“I think that this is an extreme example of the kinds of sentiments that people are feeling in many races across the country,” Ms. Valley said. “I think that tension is incredibly high.”

Ms. Valle was roughed up before Monday night’s debate between Mr. Paul, a Republican, and Democrat Jack Conway. The race is one of the most closely watched and hotly contested in the midterm elections.

Ms. Valle told Louisville TV station WDRB she was trying to give Mr. Paul a fake “employee of the month” award.

Video recorded by WDRB shows Ms. Valle’s blond wig being pulled off before she’s pinned to the ground. A man then pushes his foot down on her head. Ms. Valle said her face was swollen and her neck and shoulder were sore.

A police watch commander said Tuesday that she didn’t know if any arrests were made.

Mr. Paul’s campaign released a statement calling the altercation “incredibly unfortunate” and expressed relief that the woman was not injured.

“Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse, and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election,” the statement said.

Mr. Conway, the commonwealth’s attorney general, said he was shocked to see the video footage.

“We can disagree on issues, and I don’t know what preceded the incident, but physical violence by a man against a woman must never be tolerated,” Mr. Conway said in a statement. “It is my hope that steps have been taken to ensure this kind of thuggish behavior never happens again in this campaign.”

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