A Bangor man opposed to President Donald Trump admitted doing something “stupid” after he was arrested by city police on Wednesday for brandishing a knife and baton near a Trump campaign event featuring South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Peter Beitzell, 57, was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon after showing a wooden baton and large fixed-blade knife, said Sgt. Wade Betters, a Bangor police spokesperson. Noem spokesperson Ian Fury said that the governor’s security detail responded and the governor was “never in physical danger.”
In an interview, Beitzell said he was going to a nearby music store when he noticed the event at the Trump campaign office around 9:30 a.m. on Hogan Road. He said he is a Democrat opposed to Trump. He gave the crowd there two middle fingers while standing outside his vehicle more than 100 feet away from a campaign bus.
After that, Beitzell said a man walked menacingly from the event toward him asking him to leave. It led Beitzell to retrieve the weapons — which he said he keeps on him “once in a while” — from the vehicle. Beitzell said the man then identified himself as a police officer and said he had a gun, but did not show a badge. Local police were called and Beitzell was arrested.
On Wednesday afternoon, Beitzell called the incident “stupid on both our parts.”
“He could have left me alone because I wasn’t coming towards him. I was just giving him the finger,” he said. “He didn’t have to come over. Then I was stupid back, enough to brandish weapons at a guy who could take me apart.”
Noem was headlining events in Maine on Wednesday alongside Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski and Republican National Committee Co-Chair Tommy Hicks. An afternoon event at the Trump campaign office in Gorham was still held.
Beitzell made $200 bail and said he has a court date. Criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon is a Class D misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000.