No probable cause after “shock to the chest” between Larry Liston and Rex Tonkins | News

Liston and Tonkins got into an argument at a meeting at Fervent Church.

Colorado Springs Police Department has completed its investigation into an altercation between Sen. Larry Liston (R-SD10) and Rex Tonkins, a bonus member of the El Paso County GOP (voting member of the executive committee, awarded based on the number of voters during the last election), and the husband of El Paso County GOP President Vickie Tonkins.

According to a copy of the CSPD case report obtained by the India, Liston contacted police after the El Paso County GOP executive committee meeting on December 6, 2021, in which Liston claims Rex Tonkins “punched” him in the chest. Due to conflicting witness statements, the CSPD investigator found no further probable cause of action.

The incident is the latest in a long line of controversies that have plagued Vickie Tonkins since she posted a post on April 1, 2020 on the El Paso County GOP Facebook page asking if COVID-19 was a ” PSYOP [psychological operation]. “Following this message, 17 elected Republican El Paso County officials called on Vickie Tonkins, who is black, to formally apologize and consider resigning. This response drew accusations of racism within the El Paso County GOP from Former Treasurer John Pitchford On August 13, 2020, members of the Executive Committee decided to limit Vickie’s ability to make budget decisions or communicate on behalf of the organization Vickie was narrowly re-elected in February 2021, after drawing criticism from party members for allowing the El Paso County GOP headquarters to host meetings of the conservative activist group FEC United to fill vacancies. leadership in the constituency.

On January 30, 2021, a group of four party volunteers and Colorado Representative Tim Geitner (R-HD19) arrived at El Paso County GOP headquarters at 6 a.m. to check documents at the invitation of Pitchford, according to an email provided by Geitner. Upon their arrival, Pitchford called 911, asking the CSPD to remove the volunteers and the elected official for trespassing. No one was arrested or cited as the incident appeared to be civilian in nature, according to CSPD public information officer Lt. James Sokolik.

Concerns were also expressed about the very short notice of online pre-registration requirements to be completed one week before the El Paso County GOP Central Committee meeting on February 6, 2021. During the committee meeting, Pitchford called the CSPD on Kay Rendleman, accusing her of trespassing when she photographed unsecured registration documents. According to Sokolik, no charges have been laid as a result of this incident either.

In a March 17, 2021 report, the Colorado GOP Executive Committee ordered a new election for El Paso County GOP officers, and El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder called the election. of “simulacrum”. However, following the election of Kristi Burton Brown as President of the Colorado GOP on March 27, 2021, members of the GOP central committee voted to overturn the March 17 decision.

On November 23, El Paso County GOP Vice President Karl Schneider filed a campaign finance complaint form with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, expressing concerns about Donations from the El Paso County GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner on August 6, which featured the controversial representative from Georgia. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The rift within the El Paso County GOP has been described by party members on both sides as between “grassroots” Republicans – the new generation of Trump supporters, refusing the election, pro-Tonkins wing of the party which includes agitators like Rep. Dave Williams (R-HD15), who currently challenges U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CD5) – and “establishment” Republicans – relatively moderate and long-standing party members like Councilor Wayne Williams; and Senate candidate and former El Paso GOP County Chairman Eli Bremer.

Depending on the case CSPD report, “[Liston] stated after the meeting ended, Rex approached him again as [Liston] was picking up his coat to leave. He said that Mr. Tonkins had held his fist out at him and that he could see fire in Mr. Tonkins’ eyes. [Liston] said Rex told him “You are my senator”, “I am your voter” and “You are not a Christian.” ” [Liston] said during the altercation, Rex approached him and his chest hit him. I asked [Liston] to clarify what he meant by chest bump, and [Liston] demonstrated that Rex inflated his chest and pressed his chest against [Liston]Chest. [Liston] said he turned and walked away. I asked [Liston] if he had felt pain and said no. [Liston] said he was surprised Rex got his chest pounded. [Liston] added that he was wary of what Rex might do in the future. [Liston] believed Rex had hit him in the chest to annoy, harass or alarm him… He stated that Vickie berated Rex twice during the meeting.

Some members of the El Paso County GOP suggested that racism could have prompted the meeting, a claim denied by Liston. According to the CSPD case report, “Rex has stated that he has the right to speak because he is a bonus member under the statutes. He added that they “hate me because I am black”. He said he had “never seen” anything like it and that he was “from the south”. He went to sit down. Rex told me the meeting was adjourned, and after the meeting he went to speak with [Liston]. He told me he had asked [Liston] why he kept telling her to sit down. He stated [Liston] walked through it, without saying “excuse me”. He denied having had any physical contact with [Liston], although he said the area was small and [Liston] had entered his bubble. Rex described his bubble about 6 inches from his person. He said [Liston] Called him a thug three times. He told me he called [Liston] a fake. Rex denied making any move when he said [Liston] had passed through it. He said there were people around, but he couldn’t identify people who might have seen the altercation or spoken on his behalf. He stated [Liston] and a few other members ‘will lie on top of you in the blink of an eye’. He told me that if there was anyone saying that there had been a physical altercation between the two, it would be an “outright lie”. Rex said he couldn’t lie and said he was “slandered”. When asked if he made any movements or gestures when [Liston] walked through it, Rex said he remained still and did not swell his chest. He told me [Liston] and other members try to bait him into not wanting to react. He added that there were security cameras that allegedly captured the incident.

As part of the investigation, the CSPD also interviewed Schneider, Rendleman and Jody Ritchie, who was the registered agent for various Republican campaign committees and the Coloradans for Western Values ​​Leadership PAC, all of whom could be considered being part of the “establishment”. faction within the El Paso County GOP, and at odds with Vickie Tonkins leadership. Richie and Rendleman both claimed to have witnessed the chest lump, although the CSPD investigator, after reviewing video footage of the incident, noted: “Rex did not punch as previously mentioned by witnesses at the meeting. ”

In an email, Liston said: “Rex Tonkins physically assaulted me and I intend to continue his actions.”

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