Supporters of Hoyt Hutchinson, an Alabama man who has gained widespread attention after he was charged in connection with the knifing of a “Baby Trump” balloon used to protest the president’s recent appearance in Alabama, have raised thousands of dollars to help him pay legal fees.
A GoFundMe created Saturday that asks for donations to help Hutchinson “pay legal fees and restitutions” for the balloon has so far raised more than $30,000. The goal for that fundraising page was initially set at $6,000.
Another GoFundMe that aimed to “FREE HOYT” shortly after his arrest raised more than $12,000 during the same period.
Hutchinson captured headlines Saturday after he was arrested and charged with felony first degree criminal mischief for allegedly stabbing a “Baby Trump” balloon that was being used by demonstrators in Tuscaloosa to protest Trump’s appearance at a college football game.
According to AL.com, a group of protesters had inflated the balloon for a demonstration at Monnish Park, which is located near the Alabama-LSU football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium that Trump was attending. The balloon was reportedly stabbed shortly before the game started.
The Tuscaloosa Police Department told AL.com in a statement that “officers observed Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, age 32 of Tuscaloosa, AL, cut into the ‘Baby Trump’ balloon, and then attempted to flee the area.”
“Officers apprehended the suspect and took him into custody on a charge of Criminal Mischief First Degree. Hoyt was transported to Tuscaloosa County Jail where he was held on a $2,500 bond,” the department added.
Hutchinson has since reportedly been released on bond.
Hutchinson, who had reportedly made a Facebook Live video prior to the incident Saturday that detailed his plans to pop the balloon, said in another video after his release that he would “do it again given the opportunity.”
He also reportedly said that after paying his legal fees and replacing the balloon with the money raised on GoFundMe he plans to donate the remaining funds to the Republican Party.