The woman who was dragged to the ground and stomped by Rand Paul supporters outside of the Kentucky Senate debate last says her assailants recognized her as a regular anti-Paul protester and premeditated their attack.
“The Rand Paul campaign knows me and they have expressed their distaste for my work before,” Lauren Valle, 23, told TPM and two other reporters on a conference call this afternoon.
According to Valle, several men surrounded her before Paul arrived at the event in Lexington last night.
“They surrounded me,” she said. “There were about five of them, they started motioning to each other, and they got behind me.”
Valle says her partner, whom she identified as Alex, overheard the men threaten, “we’re here to do crowd control and we might have to take someone out.”
On the call, she provided certain details that were not caught on camera.
“Rand Paul’s car arrived, and as soon as it did, a couple of them stepped right in front of me and so I stepped off the curb to get around them, back out to the front, and at that point they started grabbing for me and I ran all the way around the car with them in pursuit, and the point at which they see the footage is after I’ve run all the way around the car and am in front of the car and that is when they take me down,” Valle said.
As you can see from the footage…one or two people twisted my arms behind my back and took me down. I got into the [inaudible] position to protect myself and it was about two or three seconds after that that another person stomped on my head. I lay there for 20 seconds or so and then my partner Alex came and got me up and that’s the point at which there’s that media clip that is out of me speaking.
Valle claims the closest she got to Paul was about five feet — but that was while she was pinned to the ground. Five minutes elapsed, she says, before the police arrived, at which point the attackers were gone.
She was questioned for about an hour nonetheless.
“The person that stomped me, I recognized him from other events. There are a few men that I know initiated the, sort of, the round up…that premeditated it.”
That man has identified himself as Tim Profitt, Paul’s now-former Bourbon County coordinator. Profitt has apologized for, and sought to minimize, the incident. Valle says there will be further legal action taken, though she hasn’t decided whether she’ll take civil action. The Paul campaign, she says, has not reached out to her directly, though it has condemned the attack.
Valle works for Republicorp — a MoveOn project meant to highlight corporate influence over the Republican party.
Valle praised the police department’s overall handling of the case, though she says that in the confusing moments after the attack the officers didn’t seem to realize that she was the victim in the incident.
“I’ve generally good interactions with them,” Valle said. “There was some confusion initially about my identity and I was detained.”
“It was sort of an afterthought that I had just been assaulted and I think partially that was because they didn’t actually see it [happen],” she added. “The detective that I have been working with has been more than gracious and helpful and I think once they actually figured out what happened, they’ve been really great.”
Valle was hospitalized and diagnosed with a concussion and mild sprains. Paul supporters and conservative activists have questioned the severity of Valle’s injuries by pointing to the fact that she participated in an interview with local media after the attack.
“A concussion and mild sprains are not terrible injuries. I was certainly injured. And I think watching the video, if you have any questions about that, maybe watch it again,” she said.
Valle was running on adrenalin for over an hour after the attack, and only afterward did she begin to feel physical repercussions.
“I was also in severe shock, and it wasn’t until about an hour and a half afterward when I was able to regroup that I started to come out of shock and started to feel very out of it. That’s when my head started to hurt.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.