Senator Rand Paul Seriously Assaulted Outside Home
Late last week, Senator Rand Paul was attacked by his neighbor in an incident that now appears to be a rather serious case of assault:
WASHINGTON — Senator Rand Paul suffered five broken ribs and bruises to his lungs in an altercation with a neighbor on Friday at his home in Bowling Green, Ky., one of the senator’s advisers said on Sunday. The injuries, which the adviser said left Mr. Paul in considerable pain, appear to be much worse than the “minor” injuries that the police had reported on Saturday.
Doug Stafford, a senior strategist to Mr. Paul, said in a statement that it was unclear when the senator would be able to return to work.
According to a criminal complaint, Mr. Paul told the police that he was tackled from behind after the neighbor entered his property, NBC News has reported. The senator also had cuts to his nose and mouth and had trouble breathing because of the rib injuries, the complaint said. Mr. Stafford attributed the injuries to “high-velocity severe force.”
The Kentucky State Police arrested the neighbor, Rene Boucher, 59, and took him to the Warren County Regional Jail, where he was released on $7,500 bond. Mr. Boucher, an anesthesiologist who invented a rice-filled vest used for back pain, has a court date set for Thursday. It is unclear what set off the altercation.
In a tweet on Sunday, Mr. Paul referred to the episode as an “unfortunate event” and thanked his well-wishers for their support
On Saturday, a spokeswoman for Mr. Paul said the senator had been “blindsided” but was “fine.” Mr. Stafford’s statement alluded to a more severe kind of attack: “Displaced rib fractures can lead to life-threatening injuries,” he said. “This type of injury is also accompanied by severe pain that can last weeks to months.” Three of Mr. Paul’s broken ribs were displaced, Mr. Stafford said.
Mac Douglas, who lives about 100 yards away from Mr. Paul, said on Sunday that he was shocked to hear about the altercation, and that Mr. Paul and Mr. Boucher had been courteous neighbors. Mr. Douglas described the neighborhood as calm and secluded, and a place where residents did not regularly interact
“It’s unusual when you see a senator and a doctor having problems,” Mr. Douglas said.
Still, one of Mr. Paul’s neighbors told a local news outlet that Mr. Paul and Mr. Boucher had “ongoing problems.” Mr. Paul was mowing his lawn at the time of the altercation, the neighbor said.
Jeremy Hodges, a Kentucky State Police trooper, said on Sunday that the preliminary investigation of the attack was finished, and that the police were waiting for court proceedings. Mr. Hodges said that Mr. Boucher had been charged with misdemeanor assault, in part because no weapon was used in the attack.
“There’s always a chance that the victim, if he sought medical treatment and it’s a more serious injury, that the charges can go up,” Trooper Hodges added.
He declined to comment on a possible motive for the attack.
While we don’t know the motivation for the attack, it does appear that Boucher may have had some political motive in mind:
Jeff Jones, a registered nurse who worked with Boucher at the Bowling Green Medical Center, described Boucher’s politics as “liberal.
“He was active on social media and said some negative things about the Republican agenda,” Jones said.
“I think it was unfortunate that they lived so close together,” he added.
A Facebook page that appeared to be Boucher’s included links to articles and memes critical of President Trump and a news article about a Montana Republican congressional candidate who attacked a reporter the day before winning his seat. The page said Boucher is a former Army pain-management specialist and graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines in 1984
By late Saturday, the page had been overrun by other Facebook users criticizing Boucher for the alleged assault. On Sunday, the page appeared to be blocked from public view.
Jim Bullington, a former member of the city commission, knows both men. He said Sunday that Boucher is divorced and lives alone. Bullington described Boucher as a socialist.
“He’s pretty much the opposite of Rand Paul in every way,” Bullington said in an interview.
The neighbors had been known to have “heated discussions” about health care, Bullington said, adding that Boucher is an advocate of a national health system.
Paul, an outspoken libertarian, voted last summer against a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying the plan didn’t go far enough in repealing the 2010 health-care law.
Robert Porter, a friend of Paul’s, said late Saturday that the senator was mowing his lawn moments before the attack.
Paul and Boucher live side by side along a small lake in Rivergreen, a close-knit gated community with large houses. On Sunday afternoon, nobody answered at Boucher’s home. Next door at the Paul residence, four people were seen doing yard work. Other neighbors were out walking, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.
Given the nature of Paul’s injuries, the initial charges against Boucher seem fairly tame, but there is a possibility that they reflect just what the arresting officers could prove with probable cause at the time of the arrest. He could see charges against him upgraded at a later date. Additionally, local media is reporting that the F.B.I. is investigating the matter alongside Kentucky State Police and local authorities. The reason for Federal involvement are unclear at this time, but there are circumstances under which an attack like this against a Federal official such as a Senator could result in Federal charges along with whatever charges he may face in state court. If that happens, the Boucher could be facing some serious jail time in connection with this case.