A dispute over competing presidential campaign signs led to a physical scuffle between Florida next-door neighbors — and ended with the supporter of President Donald Trump punching the backer of Joe Biden in the face, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
What are the details?
The paper said Joseph Lebert of DeBary — which is about 30 minutes north of Orlando — was alerted that his Trump-supporting neighbor Anthony “Tony” Vullo took Lebert’s Biden sign and tossed it into Lebert’s yard last Friday afternoon, according to a police report.
State voter records indicate Lebert is a registered Democrat while Vullo is a registered Republican, the Smoking Gun reported.
Lebert, 48, told a deputy that he confronted 55-year-old Vullo, and then Vullo pushed him, the News-Journal noted.
Not to be outdone, Lebert admitted that he pushed Vullo back — and then Vullo punched him, the paper said.
The News-Journal added that neighbor Nathaniel Parks — who told Lebert about Vullo tossing his Biden sign — corroborated Lebert’s claims, according to the police report.
The paper also quoted a 911 caller’s account: “The guy stepped over and grabbed the dude’s Biden sign out of his yard and just swung at him. My husband just walked over there because they were swinging at each other.”
The News-Journal said Lebert could not be reached for comment but added that — according to the police report — he had “obvious signs of injury” over his left eye. Lebert declined medical treatment, the Smoking Gun said.
Vullo was charged with misdemeanor battery and released on his own recognizance the next day from the Volusia County Branch Jail and ordered to stay away from Lebert, the paper said, citing court records.
The Smoking Gun said Vullo is scheduled for a Sept. 14 arraignment and that according to a pretrial supervision order he also is prohibited from possessing firearms or other weapons.
The Trump supporter tells his side of the story
Vullo told the News-Journal in a phone interview that he was upset that his neighbor installed a Biden sign that was blocking his Trump sign from view, so he pulled up the Biden sign and threw it into his neighbor’s yard.
He added that after returning home from errands he found his neighbor’s Biden sign back up and again blocking his Trump sign — after which Vullo said he repeated his action upon the Biden sign, the paper reported.
With that, Vullo said Lebert ran out of his house to confront him, the News-Journal noted.
“I felt like I was in danger,” Vullo added to the paper. “I defended myself. He took a swing at me over the property line. He swung at me and missed. I connected.”
Vullo added to the News-Journal that he feared getting hurt: “I stood my ground and defended myself.”
More from the paper:
Vullo, who said he is disabled but teaches people how to play the guitar and repairs the instruments as well, said he has had no issues anymore with his neighbor and he doesn’t have a problem with Democrats.
Vullo said that up until about two years ago, he supported Obama but then he switched to Trump, because Vullo said the Democrats had swung too far left.
He said after the fracas someone dropped off some Trump signs for him.
“I have no problem with the two-party system,” Vullo added to the News-Journal.
Vullo even wrote a song about the neighborly dust-up, the paper said, noting some of the lyrics: “Don’t block my sign / It’s not right to do that / We don’t need to burn it down / I choose my ground, you choose yours / it’s alright gonna be alright / Don’t block my sign / I’ll always stand my ground / If I have to I’ll beat you down / Don’t block my sign.”