Breaking his silence after an altercation Tuesday with a Unite Norman leader, the teen driver of the car said he did not intend to harm group co-chair Sassan Moghadam.
Norman resident Isaac Braver, 18, said Friday he does not want to tarnish Moghadam’s name or his movement to recall the Norman mayor and several City Council members.
According to a Norman Police Department report, the individuals in the car were getting food at El Toro Chino. The driver started playing the song “F---k Donald Trump” loudly in an attempt to harass the members of Unite Norman. Moghadam approached the car holding a brick.
Moghadam, 62, put the brick under the car. As the three individuals were backing out, Moghadam said they ran over his foot. He then picked up the brick and threw it at them, the report said.
“This statement is just to tell my side of the story,” said Braver, who reported the incident to police. “I have not been represented super well yet, and it’s not [meant] to drag [Moghadam] or [Unite Norman].”
Braver said he noticed the Unite Norman tent when he was going to get food for his girlfriend’s birthday.
“I had no previous interaction with them,” Braver said. “I know what they’re about because it’s a hot thing in Norman right now. As we were leaving, we thought it might be funny to play this [song] and express our First Amendment right.”
Someone did flip off the members, but there were no expletives being yelled other than what was in the song, Braver said.
As the song played, the vehicle rolled through the parking lot at about 5 to 10 miles-per-hour and about 30-40 feet away from anybody involved with Unite Norman, Braver said.
“There was absolutely no physical threat coming from my vehicle,” Braver said. “That’s all it was supposed to be: harmless. It [was] admittedly immature, but it was [supposed] to be just a little bit of harmless discourse.”
As the car came around the parking lot to exit and get back on 36th Avenue Northwest, Braver said Moghadam ran up in front of their car with a brick raised over his head. The passengers were fearful when Moghadam approached their vehicle.
“[Moghadam] was clearly very distressed, and he had something he could have easily used as a weapon,” Braver said. “... [Moghadam was] brandishing [the brick] at me and the two other minors that were in the car."
Braver said he knew Moghadam was mad and thought he was acting unreasonably.
“I slowed and stopped and rolled my window down,” Braver said. “ … [I] tried talking to him, and he immediately [started] screaming, being profane and saying he was putting us under citizen’s arrest.”
Braver said there were no signs stating it was private property.
“[Moghadam] said we were trespassing,” Braver said. “Which you need to tell somebody to leave before it’s trespassing.”
Braver said he decided to leave once he recognized that the situation was getting dangerous and that Moghadam’s behavior was physically threatening.
“I didn’t want to get hurt, I didn’t want my property damaged [and] I didn’t want him to get hurt so I told him I was going to roll my window [up] and [that I was] going to drive away,” Braver said. “To which he responded, I think he said, ‘You do that.’ He affirmed it.”
According to the police report, the window scraped Moghadam’s arm as it rolled up.
Next, Braver said Moghadam brandished the brick at the window and then went and put it behind his wheel.
“I was in a big SUV, [so] I knew for a fact that behind the wheel was not going to do anything,” Braver said. “I’m looking at him, and I wait until he gets maybe 3 or 4 feet away from the car, and there was nobody behind me and I kick it into reverse and just got out of there. Because at that point, I was just trying to defuse the situation.”
Moghadam said in NPD body cam footage obtained by The Transcript, that Braver ran over his foot and that is when he threw the brick at the car. “He put it in reverse, ran over my foot,” Moghadam said. “That’s when I jumped back, and I threw the brick at the car.”
Braver said the car passengers had no intentions to harm anyone in Unite Norman.
“I just mostly want to clarify that there was no intent of harm,” Braver said. “I would never endorse that or encourage anybody else to try and harm [someone else] in any way [or] physically get in an altercation with anybody affiliated with that group.”
Moghadam told police the Unite Norman movement had received many threats and heckling, so members were “on edge.”
“It was clear those individuals were there to harass us,” Moghadam said.
On Wednesday, Moghadam released a statement saying people were growing “tired of the harassment and bullying tactics of the far-left supporters of this council and mayor.”
Moghadam cited the driver and occupants’ behavior as well as their driving behavior as the reasons why he approached the vehicle.
All involved parties have declined to pursue charges related to the matter, according to an NPD statement.. For this reason, the investigation into this incident will be closed at the request of the involved parties.
Mindy Ragan Wood contributed to this story
Follow me @reeseg_3