Police officers in Florida have confirmed the account that a man who was badly beaten was canvassing for Republicans, as a second suspect was taken into custody.

The Hialeah Police Department declined on Oct. 24 to confirm Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) account, which said that a man was assaulted in Hialeah while wearing a Rubio shirt and a Gov. Ron DeSantis hat while canvassing for the candidates.

But a new arrest affidavit for the second suspect said that the victim, who has not been named by officials, was “distributing political fliers for United States Senator Marco Rubio as well as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.”

Both Rubio and DeSantis are running for reelection to their respective positions.

Jonathan Alexander Casanova, 26, was arrested for allegedly joining in the beating of the victim.

Police said that Casanova kicked the victim in the head after Javier Jesus Lopez, 22, threw the man to the ground.

A witness eventually pulled Casanova off the victim, according to the police report. Casanova then went to a vehicle and released two German Shepherds, who he manuevered near the victim. Police say Casanova instructed the dogs to attack the man.

The incident was ultimately broken up by neighbors and the victim was rushed to Kendall Regional Medical Center for treatment for injuries, including a fractured orbital bone and nasal fractures.

Casanova fled the scene but was identified by information from Lopez and the victim picked him out of a lineup.

The victim told police that he crossed the street after being confronted by the defendants but they followed him and said he was not allowed to walk around the neighborhood. Casanova said that if the man continued to walk around then he would shoot him, according to the arrest affidavit.

Surveillance video corroborated the victim’s statements, police said.

“On Sunday thugs told a GOP canvasser wearing my campaign T-shirt that he couldn’t be in their neighborhood because he was a Republican,” Rubio said in a statement. “They assaulted him & commanded two dogs to attack him. Surveillance video corroborated the victim’s story & police have now made a second arrest.”

Photographs released by the senator showed a man wearing a Marco Rubio shirt on a gurney with severe facial injuries.

Lopez and Casanova were both charged with aggravated battery, a felony.

Lopez had warrants out in other cases, according to jail records.

The men were being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

A campaign spokesperson for Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is challenging Rubio, told news outlets in a statement that Demings “strongly condemns all acts of violence and the attackers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”


Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news for The Epoch Times. He is based in Maryland.

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