Police: Friend convinced Trump ex-campaign boss to surrender

US Politics
Brad Parscale

FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2019, file photo, Brad Parscale, then-campaign manager for President Donald Trump, speaks during a campaign rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Parscale was hospitalized Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, after he threatened to harm himself, according to Florida police and campaign officials. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A standoff between South Florida police and President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale ended after an officer who was friends with Parscale convinced him to surrender, officials said.

Fort Lauderdale Officer Christopher Wilson wrote in a report that he had just finished a shift Sunday evening when a mutual friend called him and told him that a SWAT team was at Parscale’s home, and he was refusing to come out. When Wilson arrived at the Fort Lauderdale home, he was able to persuade Parscale to come outside. Body camera footage released Monday shows officers rushing Parscale and knocking him to the ground before taking him into custody.

The standoff started earlier Sunday after Parscale’s wife fled the home and asked for help from a real estate agent showing a nearby house, officials said. They called 911, and officers responded.

The wife told officers that Parscale had been stressed out recently and that he had made comments about shooting himself, according to a police report. Investigators said 10 guns were later removed from the home. The wife also said that Parscale drinks and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

One of the responding officers reported that he witnessed bruising on the wife’s arm and face. She told him that the injuries had come from an altercation with Parscale earlier that week, according to the police report. The officer called Parscale and asked him to leave the house unarmed, but the report said Parscale remained in the home for about an hour, until Wilson arrived and convinced him to come outside.

Parscale was hospitalized Sunday under the state’s Baker Act. That act allows anyone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to be detained for 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.

Parscale was demoted from the campaign manager’s post in July but remained part of the campaign, helping run its digital operation.

Standing 6’8” and with a distinctive beard, Parscale had become a celebrity to Trump supporters and would frequently pose for photos and sign autographs ahead of campaign rallies. But Trump had begun to sour on him earlier this year as Parscale attracted a wave of media attention that included focus on his seemingly glitzy lifestyle on the Florida coast that kept him far from campaign headquarters in Virginia.

Over the summer, he hyped a million ticket requests for the president’s comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that ended up drawing just 6,000 people. A furious Trump was left staring at a sea of empty seats and, weeks later, promoted Bill Stepien to campaign manager.

Parscale was originally hired to run Trump’s 2016 campaign by Jared Kushner, the president’s powerful son-in-law. While the Republican National Committee owns most of the campaign’s data, voter modeling and outreach tools, Parscale ran most of the microtargeted online advertising that Trump aides believe was key to his victory four years ago.

Under the state’s Red Flag Law, officials could ask a judge to bar Parscale from possessing any weapons for up to a year.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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