The driver of a car with a bumper sticker critical of former President Donald Trump is facing charges after police say he intentionally crashed into a pro-Trump store in Massachusetts.
Police later identified the driver as Sean Flaherty, 46, of Raynham. He faces charges of reckless operation of a motor vehicle and malicious destruction of property.
Malicious destruction of property is a felony charge. It suggests that police believe there is probable cause that the crash was purposeful and committed with malice.
A close friend says politics was not the motivation. “It had nothing to do with Trump or any political anything,” the friend, who asked not to be identified said. “It was just an unfortunate coincidence.”
A video posted by the Easton Police Department on Facebook shows the black Volkswagen Jetta slamming through the glass and plowing through several racks of clothing inside the New England for Trump store. Police said they were dispatched to the incident at approximately 5:10 p.m.
One employee was inside the store at the time of the crash. Police said he was not injured.
The store is located at 620 Washington St., Route 138, alongside several restaurants and other businesses. A large sign in the style of Trump’s campaign signs advertises “T-shirts, hats, flags and more” and Trump flags fill most of the windows.
“Just before he did that, there was a little boy with his mother shopping right in that spot,” said Keith Lambert, the store’s owner. “The clerk was about to go to the bathroom and he would’ve gotten hit.”
“Thank God nobody got hurt, that’s all I can say,” Lambert also said.
Police said Flaherty was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries after the crash.
The friend said the father of two has struggled with mental illness.
“He wasn’t in the right sense of mind mentally,” the friend said. “He’s been going through a lot over the past year.”
Images from Brockton Enterprise photographer Marc Vasconcellos show several bumper stickers on the rear of the Jetta, including one with a photo of Trump. The sticker includes a Voltaire quote and a barcode on Trump’s upper lip appears to be a reference to Adolph Hitler.
Easton police said the Registry of Motor Vehicles was also asked to revoke Flaherty’s license immediately [WCVB Boston].
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