A local official in Seminole County, Florida, is being accused of battery by a gay journalist who says he grabbed him and used a gay slur during an altercation last week.
Jacob Engels (above) is the founder and publisher of the Seminole County Post, an online publication. In July, the Post reported tax collector Ray Valdes (below) was not fully forthcoming on his own tax return.
Then, on August 12, Engels wrote a story accusing Valdes of nepotism when he hired a relative for a supervisory role at the Seminole County Tax Collector's Office.
Last week, Engels confronted Valdes about the nepotism charges as he was leaving a Seminole County Republican Executive Committee meeting. The two argued and Engels claims Valdes grabbed his wrist and took his phone.
"He pushed me and then grabbed my cell-phone," Engels said in a 911 call shortly after the incident. "[He] took it away from me, and I had to wait for him to give it back to me. But he got very aggressive."
Later, Engels told police Valdes used a gay slur during the incident.
Authorities are reviewing footage from Engels' phone to determine whether to file charges of simple battery with the State Attorney's Office.
But Valdes' lawyer says Engels ambushed his client and shoved his phone in his face.
"[Valdes] did take the phone out of his face, but that's it," explained Robert Fisher. "This guy is an agitator and the whole thing is clearly politically motivated. It's sad to see such dirty politics."
If it is dirty politics, it's on one side of the aisle: Though openly gay, Engels is a staunch conservative and registered Republican.
In the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting, he criticized Hillary Clinton for accepting donations Arab regimes supporting terrorism.
"If Hillary Clinton is truly a friend and ally of the gay community we call on her to return the millions she and her husband have received from Islamic regimes that perpetrate senseless acts of violence against the gay community each and every day," Engels wrote in a statement.
He also attacked gun-control advocates, asking Floridians "to not let politicians use this senseless tragedy as an excuse to further disarm our citizens."