A local journalist’s adult child has been arrested for spitting on a Utah mayor after he went on a disparaging rant about their mother’s reporting on him.
Linnea Pugmire, who uses they/them pronouns, was caught on video allegedly assaulting Orem Mayor David Young during an argument about a council meeting.
Pugmire’s mother Genelle Pugmire is a journalist for The Utah Daily Herald who often writes articles about Mr Young.
In a council meeting on Tuesday, Mr Young went on a 20-minute rant about the journalist’s articles, claiming that they were deceptive and made a lot of false claims about the council and himself.
Following the meeting, Pugmire confronted Mr Young outside the city council chambers, according to Fox 13.
“How dare you ... do you know what you just did tonight?” the journalist’s adult child is seen asking.
The video shows Mr Young realises that Pugmire’s mother is the journalist he had been talking about in the meeting.
The pair begin arguing before Pugmire launching towards the mayor and appears to spit on him.
Mr Young then appears to push them back.
Later on in the footage, Pugmire appears to also hit the mayor on the side of the head and also hit another person accompanying the mayor.
Mr Young spoke to Fox 13 about the incident, saying: “She charges towards me, she spits at me, she spits and hits the girl next to me.
“So when that happened I wasn’t real happy about that so I grabbed her by the chest and started to push her back to get her away from us.”
The mayor went on to say that it is important for public elected officials to be able to “have honest discussions and have it be a civil debate”.
Following the incident, Pugmire was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on charges of assault, disorderly conduct, propelling a bodily substance and threatening elected officials.
“Pugmire admitted to being upset at the mayor over personal concerns with family,” the affidavit reads.
“While speaking with the victims and witnesses of this incident, officers also learned there was a second victim who had been hit and spit on.”
The arrest report however does not identify the second victim involved.
Pugmire was released on bond on Wednesday morning with the next court date set for 4 October.
During the council meeting, Mr Young told attendees that te was told by public relations not to mention the journalist’s articles but said that the situation had gotten “overly ridiculous.”
He claimed that the articles from the Daily Herald, such as ones on alleged library censorship and the Utah Attorney General investigating both the council and the mayor, were written on a “foundation of fantasy”.
He then launched into a definition of what a “lie” is and said the articles were written in the intent to “deceive” and be “misleading”.
Mr Young then turned to more personal matters, stating that a lawsuit filed in Alabama in November 2021 had ordered him, his real estate company Torch13 LLC and his son to pay $1m over fraudulent business loans.
He namedropped Genelle Pugmire, who has written most of the articles about him, and accused her of working with the attorney on the other side of the case, Danny Evans, to get information.
He also claimed he was approached by Ms Pugmire by email over an article on the lawsuit, but complained that she did not publish his whole statement in response.
“I want answers from her as to why these inaccuracies were printed and spread throughout Utah,” he said.
“I’ve got questions as to why my personal financial information was distributed and why my wife’s information was compromised as I said she has nothing to do with this.”
He went on to say that he did not know why the journalist would write articles on the lawsuit as he sees it as old news – though he added that an “election is coming up”.
“We work so hard to increase connection and to divide our community for political gain is pathetic,” he fumed.
In a statement to KSL after Wednesday’s incident, Orem city officials said: “We are deeply troubled by this incident because City Hall should be a place for civil civic dialogue where everyone feels safe and protected. The security and safety of our public officials is a top priority. The city of Orem will continue to promote civility at all times and ask for the public to join us in this effort.”
The mayor also released a prepared statement on Wednesday.
“My intention in bringing to light the long-standing issues with the Daily Herald’s reporting was to encourage people to rise above the divisiveness and misinformation that is overshadowing the amazing work of the City Council,” he said.
“As a community, we are better than this and I hope this incident will further serve as a wake-up call for the need for more responsible journalism and for each of us to work together with greater civility and unity."
The Daily Herald told KSL that Genelle Pugmire will no longer be reporting on the mayor and a new journalist has been assigned to cover that topic.