Local veteran in Trump rally video: I'm sorry

Posted at 2:33 PM, Mar 08, 2016

BRIGHT, Ind. — The man who gained Internet notoriety for shoving a protester out of a Donald Trump rally has expressed regret for his actions.

Korean War veteran Al Bamberger, 75, was captured on video shouting at and shoving Black Lives Matter protester and University of Louisville student Shiya Nwanguma during a Trump rally on Super Tuesday. There is also video footage of him shouting at other protesters during the rally.

Bamberger, of Bright, Indiana, is seen in multiple videos — which have gone viral — wearing his Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 4 shirt and hat. He later confirmed to Eagle Country 99.3 that he is a member of the organization.

In a letter to the chapter president, he expressed his regret for his actions and insisted he is not racist. Bamberger also said he was knocked to the ground when protesters began shoving their way toward the stage after Trump arrived.

“Unfortunately my state of mind after being knocked down and hurt myself, and being caught between a group of white supremacists and Black Lives Matters protestors contributed to my behavior however, there is no excuse for my actions,” he wrote.

Bamberger also said in his letter that he did not attend the rally “to cause chaos and create videos” like the protestors who surrounded him.

Here is Bamberger’s full letter:

Dear Mr. (Larry) Kinard (National President of the Korean War Veterans Association),

My name is Alvin Bamberger and I am a 75 year old senior citizen member of the Korean War Veterans Association.  I am very proud of my service and I am currently very active in the KWVA Chapter 4 based in Aurora, Indiana.  I have served with the color guard and participated in over two hundred funerals honoring our veterans since 2008.  Participating in veterans’ events and activities is a very important part of my life particularly since my retirement.  I have been married for over 50 years and have five children, thirteen grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.  Several of my children and grandchildren are also veterans or currently serving in the armed forces.

One of my favorite things to do is attend political rallies particularly Presidential rallies.  For me these are exciting events and a chance to see candidates in person and show veterans’ support.  In the past I attended rallies for Mitt Romney being asked to sit on the stage right behind the podium.  When I found out that Donald Trump was holding a rally in Louisville, KY, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend especially since he is so supportive of Veterans.

The rally was held on March 1, 2016 and even though Trump was not scheduled to speak until 4:00 pm, I arrived at 1:00 when the doors were first opened in hopes of getting a place close to the stage.  I was wearing my KWVA jacket, shirt, and hat and was let into the venue immediately.  The event was very well attended and the crowd inside grew to the point where people were packed in tightly.  Everyone was standing and there were no seats.

There were some demonstrators outside the convention center where the event was being held but, at least initially, everything seemed to be under control and mostly orderly.  All that changed when Trump got to the stage.  Protestors in the crowd became vocal and began pushing and shoving their way toward the stage.  At one point I was physically knocked down and fell to the ground, losing my jacket (which was eventually returned to me).  The protestors were holding up signs, chanting “black lives matter” and pushing and shoving Trump supporters.

Trump kept saying “get them out, get them out” and people in the crowd began pushing and shoving the protestors. Unfortunately a lot of this behavior was happening right next to where I was standing and having been pushed to the floor myself, my emotions got the best of me, and I was caught up in the frenzy.  I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit, an action I sincerely regret.  

I later found out that some of the “Trump supporters” involved in the incident (standing right next to me) were members of a white supremacy group.   I cannot emphasize enough that I am in no way affiliated with a hate group like that and don’t condone any of their actions.  Unfortunately my state of mind after being knocked down and hurt myself, and being caught between a group of white supremacists and Black Lives Matter protestors contributed to my behavior however, there is no excuse for my actions.

I need everyone to know that I am not a racist as implied by many internet postings.  I am not associated with any type of racist organizations and did not push the young lady because she was black.  I went to the rally to have a good time, support the veterans, and see Donald Trump.  Unlike the people that surrounded me at the event, whose main purpose was to cause chaos and create videos, I went there with no intention of participating in a confrontation and I deeply regret my involvement.  I have embarrassed myself, my family, and Veterans.  This was a very unfortunate incident and it is my sincere hope that I can be forgiven for my actions.

Alvin R. Bamberger

Louisville police are investigating several complaints subsequent to last week’s rally, according to Eagle Country 99.3.