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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

March 31, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Student arrested after entering White House checkpoint

An Ithaca College student was arrested Jan. 20 after he allegedly rode an electric scooter past a restricted White House checkpoint and said he wanted to talk to U.S. President Donald Trump about fascism. 

Senior Bronzert Pedulla-Smith allegedly drove the scooter past the vehicle entrance checkpoint and into a restricted area of the White House complex at 5:21 p.m. Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., according to court documents filed Jan. 21. 

According to the court documents, Brandon Connaughton, U.S. secret service agent, asked Pedulla-Smith what he was doing in the restricted area after Pedulla-Smith stopped the scooter near the vehicle entry post. Pedulla-Smith allegedly threw his hands in the air and turned toward the officers but did not reply, the court documents stated. 

Another officer ordered Pedulla-Smith to move to the sidewalk, but he did not, so the officer grabbed his arm, guided him to the sidewalk and handcuffed him, according to the court documents. 

According to the court documents, Pedulla-Smith allegedly said he thought that he was allowed to be in the restricted area and that the checkpoint was abandoned and wanted to take pictures. Pedulla-Smith also said that he wanted to talk to Trump about fascism and to take him down in a nonviolent way, the court documents stated. 

Pedulla-Smith allegedly said he was taking a leave of absence from the college because of stress and mental illness, according to the court documents. 

According to the court documents, Pedulla-Smith refused to waive his Miranda rights and began shouting ‘F— Donald Trump’ when he was escorted into a transport vehicle. He was taken to a hospital in the district, the court documents stated. 

While at the hospital, Pedulla-Smith hissed at officers, spoke incoherently about fascism and requested to take his medication, according to court documents. After he took his medication, Pedulla-Smith became quiet and spoke to officers coherently, the court documents stated. 

Pedulla-Smith declined to comment because the case is still pending. 

 

 

Alexis Manore can be reached at amanore@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @AlexisManore