2 Turning Point ‘bullies’ charged in assault of queer ASU professor | Phoenix New Times


2 Turning Point ‘bullies’ charged in assault of queer ASU professor

The two men from the right-wing organization face misdemeanor charges after ambushing the professor in Tempe.
Turning Point’s Kalen D’Almeida approached ASU professor David Boyles (right) to berate him on Oct. 11.
Turning Point’s Kalen D’Almeida approached ASU professor David Boyles (right) to berate him on Oct. 11. Arizona's Family
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Editor’s note: This story was updated on Dec. 8 to correctly identify Braden Joel Ellis as the second person charged in the Oct. 11 incident. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said a “clerical error” led to the wrong person initially being charged.


The two men from a right-wing organization who left a queer Arizona State University professor bloodied have been charged with assault and harassment.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed charges on Wednesday against Kalen Christian D'Almeida for his role in ambushing ASU professor David Boyles as he exited a building on the Tempe campus on Oct. 11. D'Almeida is accused of assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. Braden Joel Ellis was charged with harassment on Dec. 5. All the charges are misdemeanors.

Jeanine L’Ecuyer, a spokesperson for the county attorney’s office, told Phoenix New Times that although the office rarely prosecutes misdemeanors, it will handle the case since the incident happened at a public university.

The two men represent right-wing organization Turning Point USA, which agitates and emboldens conservative youth. The men confronted Boyles on National Coming Out Day, following him for at least 90 seconds while D'Almeida peppered him with inflammatory questions. Ellis recorded the interaction with a cellphone.

"David, you can't run. It’s best if you just talk to me about why you want to push sodomy onto young people,” D’Almeida said as he pursued Boyles.

At one point, D’Almeida told Boyles, “You would like to see a different America exist where little boys are sodomized by people like you.”

Edited footage of the encounter — which resulted in Boyles sustaining an injury to his face — was posted to Turning Point's account on X, formerly known as Twitter. It shows Boyles reaching toward the phone camera before the video cuts out.

Turning Point said the phone had a “disconnected wire that caused the video to cut out immediately.”
click to enlarge ASU professor David Boyles
ASU professor David Boyles suffered injuries to his face after he was shoved from behind during an altercation on Oct. 11.

Turning Point called charges against team members ‘unbelievable’

Security footage released by ASU captured what happened after the Turning Point video ended in a now-deleted Youtube video.

As Boyles nears Ellis, who is holding the phone, D’Almeida takes several steps toward Boyles and then pushes the professor to the ground. Boyles gets to his feet as a student runs to his aid. D’Almeida and Ellis continue to follow Boyles and the student as they exit the frame.

It wasn’t the first time Turning Point has targeted Boyles, who worked to establish a chapter of Drag Queen Story Hour in Arizona. Boyles is currently listed on Turning Point’s Professor Watchlist, which targets academics who teach "advance leftist propaganda in the classroom," according to Turning Point.

ASU President Michael Crow requested Turning Point remove ASU professors from the watchlist in April and referred to D’Almeida and Ellis as “cowards” and “bullies."

Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk spoke at a Sept. 27 event on ASU’s campus in Tempe, during which time he called for state lawmakers to defund the university.

“As an Arizona taxpayer, I think the Arizona House has to defund Arizona State University,” Kirk said at the event.

The ambush occurred about two weeks later.

Meanwhile, the incident helped prompt some students to launch a petition drive to ban Turning Point from campus.

On Thursday, Kirk called the criminal charges "unbelievable," while Turning Point declared on Friday that "our team members will be vindicated."

"Kalen and his cameraman did absolutely nothing wrong," Turning Point spokesperson Andrew Kolvet said on X. "We will vigorously defend them and look forward to taking this matter into a courtroom where the very clear video evidence documenting what actually happened will quickly prevail over ASU’s gaslighting and the media’s propaganda. Our team members will be vindicated."

LGBTQ+ media outlet Lookout reported on Nov. 15 that Arizona Deputy Attorney General Bill Mundell met with LGBTQ+ leaders and told them that his office was investigating the October attack. He didn't say why the office was investigating,

L’Ecuyer told New Times that the attorney general’s office was not involved. The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Arraignment hearings for D'Almeida and Ellis are scheduled for Jan. 2.
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