Hitler victim blames LaRouche sign for assault

Hitler victim blames LaRouche sign for assault »Play Video
EDMONDS, Wash. -- It was just a sign featuring President Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache.

But one man says what it represents got his blood boiling. And now the 70 year old is facing assault charges.

Supporters of Lyndon LaRouche often stand on sidewalks, passing out brochures outlining their beliefs. One of their latest campaigns involve their accusation against President Obama, whom they believe is trying to revive Adolf Hitler's genocide programs.

When Henry Gasparian saw the LaRouche supporters handing out pictures of the mustachioed president, his anger boiled over.

"I asked them, 'Do you know who Hitler was?' Do you know why you're standing here?'" he said.

But all he got was a casual rebuff, he said.

To Gasparian, the Hitler reference is very real. The Armenian immigrant tears up whenever he thinks back to the life he lived under Hitler.

Gasparian watched his brother starve to death under the German occupation of the Soviet Union. And the image of Obama donning a Hitler mustache rushed him with a flood of emotional memories.

So Gasparian confronted two young men holding the signs. Then he tried to snatch their brochures.

The two teenagers who were working the LaRouche stand called police, and Gasparian has been charged with assault.

"I do not regret that I stood up and said that. Maybe the way I did should have been more civilized," he said. "I never meant to push or strike them, they are teenagers."

Chris Fleck, another Edmonds resident, LaRouche supporters anger him and his wife, but said he knows they're just exercising their right to free speech.

"They can have all the speech they want, but we have right to be offended by it," Fleck said.

But Gasparian doesn't see it that way.

"It's not freedom of speech. It's not freedom of speech. It's freedom to insult anyone you want to?"

One thing LaRouche supporters may be guilty of is spreading their word illegally, at least in the city of Edmonds. The mayor said they have not obtained a proper permit.