Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was in the middle of addressing supporters at a packed rally in Denver, Colorado, over the weekend when a brawl suddenly broke out.
Much of the incident was caught on video as the two attendees came to blows inside the Colorado Convention Center, to the shock of other rally-goers. The confrontation, which was reportedly sparked by a protester’s “Black Guns Matter” t-shirt, spilled over a metal barrier and sent the pair toppling to the ground just feet from the rally crowd.
According to CBS Denver, “They … grappled with each other and one man knocked the other down onto the ground after lifting him up. They both landed on the ground partially under the stage Sanders was in the middle of delivering his speech from.”
More pushing and shoving ensued until friends of each of the men stepped in to break up the fight.
The man wearing the shirt, who is African-American, has spoken out since the incident and says it all began when a Sanders supporter confronted him over his “racist” T-shirt.
“He had a problem with the shirt I was wearing,” the man, who declined to give his name, told CBS Denver. “I was recording the event, he walks up and calls me a racist. But I thought, ‘What’s he know about black lives, about discrimination, or, for that matter, the representation of the shirt?’”
The man, who said he agrees with many of Sanders’ proposals, except his stance on guns, said he got the shirt from a conceal-carry class.
Throughout history, “Black people and their ability to own firearms has historically been very restricted,” he added.
Sanders has made gun reform one of the pillars of his campaign, calling for an expansion of background checks and a ban on the sale and distribution of assault-style weapons to end what he calls “the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”
The Sanders supporter, who identified himself to the station as Tyler, has painted the “Black Guns Matter” guy as the aggressor in the fight and said he witnessed the man booing the Vermont senator as he spoke. He claims the man in the shirt shoved him through the barricade when he tried to capture video of the booing.
Their confrontation only escalated from there.
Sanders, 78, didn’t address the fight unfolding before him and continued speaking.
The man in the shirt expressed shock over being assaulted at a political rally, saying: “I would expect that sort of thing at a Trump rally.
“I think it’s really a sad thing at a Bernie [Sanders] rally, when someone has a difference of opinion, that someone would be treated like that,” he told the outlet. “I thought it really would be a lot more inclusive than that. It’s not a safe place to express differences.”
Neither of the men was escorted out, CBS Denver reports. Rather, security advised they be kept apart for the remainder of the event.
Watch more in the video below.