*Ashanti Smith, the black woman seen punching a Trump supporter after being swept up and attacked during the Capitol riot, is sharing her story exclusively with local D.C. journalist Leah Henry about how she ended up on the Capitol grounds that day and what led up to the punch, which led her to be fired from her job as a security guard.
Smith, 28, said she was on a break from her job nearby when she saw the mob forming and got closer to take pictures. She said that’s when a female Trump supporter asked who she was there to support, President Trump or President-Elect Joe Biden. Smith said neither, and the woman accused her of being with Antifa.
Smith said she didn’t know what Antifa was and asked the woman, “What did you call me?” That’s when things escalated. Other Trump supporters nearby began hurling racial slurs and she was swarmed. Smith said she was pulled to safety behind the nearby police barricade seen in the video, but at least two of the cops were adamant that she not stay with them and sent her back out into the crowd over the objections of officers that pulled her to safety.
She was swarmed a second time by the MAGA rioters, and was again called racial slurs. Smith said she felt someone spit on her.
“So, I automatically got into defense mode and I hit her, and I stepped back. … I didn’t wanna seem like the aggressor or that I was down there to cause any problems, because that wasn’t it. I was there to take pictures. And I was showing my live what was going on as soon as I started getting harassed.”
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ON THE CODE SHE DID WHAT SHE HAD TO DO🤣🤣 MINK MINK
— ⁶Kid (@deep_dab) January 6, 2021
Because the punch went viral, Ashanti was arrested later that night and charged with assault. And despite reports that she was fired from her job, Smith was suspended while the case is being investigated.
The DC-area resident has launched a GoFundMe to help pay legal fees and other expenses while she’s out of work. It was approaching $191,000 as of Friday morning.
Watch her full with interview with Leah Henry of Leah’s Lemonade below to hear her side of that viral video. Also below is a photo showing the MAGA instigators mentioned by Smith, Anna Lorenz and Therese Duke.
Therese Duke’s 18-year-old daughter Helena, meanwhile, mocked her mother over the beatdown — tweeting the video a day later with the caption, “hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you?”
The self-described “liberal lesbian of the family” followed up with photos of her mother — including one of her bleeding heavily from the face — “for those that don’t believe it’s my mother.” She followed that up by outing other family members who were also involved in the altercation with Smith.
hi mom remember the time you told me I shouldn’t go to BLM protests bc they could get violent…this you? https://t.co/9ZkbAq0ehO
— Helena Duke (@duke_helena) January 7, 2021