1:38 PM PDT, June 3, 2021
A mayoral campaign event in Albuquerque was interrupted when a sex toy attached to a flying drone flew toward candidate Manuel Gonzales, a New Mexico sheriff, while he was on-stage making his speech.
In a bizarre turn of events, Bernalillo County Sheriff Gonzales was later punched in the ensuing scuffle to catch the drone, a sheriff’s office report said.
“It was a coordinated effort, very intentional, and these people were trained” Gonzales claimed in a Wednesday press conference, calling the trouble makers “political operatives” that were “planted there.”
Gonzales is running on a Democrat platform, and the Tuesday rally held outdoors at the Revel Entertainment Center in Northeast Albuquerque was one of his biggest events so far with approximately 70 people in attendance, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
He had been answering questions on stage from an audience member when a video shared on Facebook showed a drone with a sex toy attached flying toward him. The venue’s owner attempted to swat the drone away, before 20-year-old Kaelan Ashby Dreyer also darted toward the drone, attempting to grab it back, according to the sheriff’s report.
A scuffle ensued, and deputies say Dreyer began “swinging a balled-up fist at Manuel Gonzales III” while calling him “a tyrant” before striking him in the hands, according to a criminal complaint.
Gonzales is not seen in the video being hit as someone walks in front of the camera angle at that point in the video.
Dreyer was removed from the event, and was later arrested on battery and resisting arrest. He claimed he didn’t mean to hit the sheriff, according to KOB.
According to a sheriff’s deputy quoted in the report, Dreyer claimed he didn’t mean to hit the sheriff, the Associate Press reported. Dreyer “never intended to hit Manuel but was upset that Manuel was answering a question, from the crowd, in a disrespectful way. He stated that he did ball his fist and was just going to swing them through the air and leave,” the court documents stated.
He has since been released from custody, and will be arraigned June 21, according to court records.
Gonzales said in the press conference that he believes the incident was orchestrated by his political rivals, specifically fellow Democrat and incumbent Mayor Tim Keller. “It became so distracting from the sound and everything I couldn’t really get my point across,” Gonzales said.
Keller’s campaign denied the claims in a statement, according to the Albuquerque Journal: “To suggest we were behind it is pathetic and the kind of desperation that has marked Manny’s troubled campaign.”
Dreyer also denied being sent by the Keller campaign, telling the Albuquerque Journal, “Manny Gonzales is trying to associate me with Tim Keller or radical leftist behavior. I’m not a fan of Tim Keller either and identify as libertarian.”