- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2017

A North Carolina man was arrested Thursday after he pepper-sprayed a group of Confederate veteran re-enactors during the 128th annual Soldiers Reunion Parade in Newton, police said.

Karl Smith, 56, of Morganton, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and was released, a local ABC affiliate reported.

Police seized a small canister of pepper spray and a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver for which Mr. Smith was licensed to carry.

Two victims were treated for pepper spray exposure by emergency personnel, ABC reported.

Two parade participants had alerted police that a man armed with pepper spray was following Confederate re-enactors in Thursday’s parade.

Witnesses told police that when the re-enactors stopped to discharge their weapons, the man pepper-sprayed them.

“He just walked up to the backside of the fellas that were fixing to do the salute,” witness Amanda Chandler told ABC.

“This was the only incident during the entire week of Reunion events,” police said in a statement late Thursday. “With the assistance of numerous emergency response agencies, the Newton Police Department considers the 2017 Soldiers Reunion a successful event.”

Police told ABC they weren’t aware of any threats or groups planning to protest the parade.

“It’s a peaceful parade,” Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said. “We hope everyone enjoys the parade. Of course, anyone who comes here and breaks the law is going to go to jail.”

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