A “heated debate” over the Bundy Ranch standoff turned violent early Friday when a bar patron slugged another man in the face, resulting in his arrest for battery.
According to cops, David Craig, 54, and Brian Holt, 31, were seated next to each other at the bar at Papa Joe’s in Bradenton when they “got into a heated debate over the Bundy Ranch, and the ‘range wars.’”
Holt told a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy that Craig “became offended by his opinion and got up to yell at him.” The men, Holt said, got into each other’s face before Craig (seen at right) punched him in the mouth. Left with a split lip, Holt was able to provide an investigator with the license plate for Craig’s Toyota Tacoma.
When a deputy later confronted Craig, he acknowledged arguing with Holt, “but would leave out the fact that a battery occurred,” reported Deputy Sarah Kane, who noted that Craig’s vehicle had been “purposely hidden behind his residence and then behind a shed in a dark area.”
Charged with misdemeanor battery, Craig was booked into the county jail, from which he was released after posting $500 bond.
The sheriff’s report does not detail Craig’s and Holt’s respective positions on the dispute between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal Bureau of Land Management. Bundy, who does not recognize BLM authority over his property, owes the government more than $1 million in fees due to his cattle herd grazing on public land for more than two decades.
When BLM officials recently sought to confiscate the 67-year-old rancher’s cattle, a standoff ensued, with Bundy (seen at left) and some of his armed supporters making ominous comparisons to the deadly confrontations at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called Bundy and his supporters “domestic terrorists.” Seeking to avoid a violent confrontation, BLM workers released Bundy’s cattle and left the area.