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Thwarted bombing suspect Sami Osmakac previously arrested after fight with Westboro Baptist Church members

5:53 PM, Jan 9, 2012   |    comments
Online video shows a confrontation between Sami Osmakac (in white) and a religious protester in April 2011 (image courtesy Dailymotion)
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Tampa, Florida -- Months before he allegedly plotted terrorist attacks in the Tampa Bay area, police say Sami Osmakac was arrested after a religious debate turned into a brawl.

Read: Sami Osmakac's April 2011 arrest report (PDF)

According to the arrest report, members of the Westboro Baptist Church were outside the Tampa Bay Times forum in April 2011 to protest a Lady Gaga concert that night. 

The controversial church has stirred widespread outrage with raucous demonstrations at numerous events, including the funerals of U.S. military service members. The group contends God is punishing the military for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

At one point Osmakac drove by the Westboro protesters wearing what appeared to be traditional Middle Eastern clothing. The protesters verbally berated him and the Muslim faith as he waited in traffic. Eventually he was able to drive away.

A short time later, Osmakac allegedly returned to the protesters on foot, and he engaged in an argument with them. A nearby officer conducting traffic tried to diffuse the situation, but Osmakac and one of the protesters got into a physical fight. The protester claimed Osmakac unprovokedly head-butted him.

Both men were charged with battery and released on their own recognizance.  A few months later, Osmakac was arrested again, this time on failure to appear for the battery charges.

Video was later posted online showing the altercation between Osmakac and the protesters:


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