JANESVILLE (WKOW)-- More than 350 police officers were in Janesville Tuesday afternoon to provide a secure setting for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's rally inside the Holiday Inn Express.
Authorities say the event was relatively peaceful minus some verbal altercations and one incident where a 15-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and sprayed with pepper spray. Janesville Police Chief David Moore says she was waiting in line to see Donald Trump when a man groped her.
"She reacted by pushing this male back and as she pushed the male back another person presented some pepper spray and sprayed her in the face," Moore says.
Police say a 19-year-old woman from Madison was also injured by the pepper spray. Both women were treated at a nearby hospital. Police are still looking for the man who deployed the pepper spray and the other man involved in the groping.
"We are looking for anyone who with information regarding this incident," Moore says. "We are fairly confident we will obtain visual evidence that will identify these individuals."
Chief Moore says officers also encountered two suspicious packages and a car that was suspiciously parked outside the hotel. He says both packages and the car were cleared without incident.
Other than that, Moore says the rally and protests stayed peaceful. He was pleasantly surprised considering the night before the event six protestors were arrested during a sit-in that was held in the lobby of the hotel.
"We really wanted to shut down Trump, to make sure that his hate speech isn't spreading," protestor Z! Haukeness says.
Haukeness was among the six protestors who were arrested Monday night. They were all released by 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Haukeness says they went home to sleep for a few hours and then came back to the site for a planned protest at 11:00 a.m.
Police say they heard there were 5,000 tickets given out, and that the venue only holds 1,000 people. A line of Trump supporters stretched all the way around the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express. Lucas Nahnsen was one of the first 500 people in line.
"I got here around 11:30 this morning and got in line," Nahnsen says. "Trump seems like he really wants to help regular Americans. I genuinely think a majority of his policies want to help middle class to lower class Americans."
Authorities say most of the Trump supporters left when the rally started, but a few hundred decided to stick around. They were able to listen to the event through speakers that were set up outside the hotel.
"I've been following since he announced his candidacy. I'm really excited to be here. I want to make America great again," Trump supporter Quinn Likness says.
Police say a majority of the protestors left once the rally got started. The event was scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. Trump arrived around 5:15 p.m. and spoke to the crowd for about 45 minutes.
JANESVILLE (WKOW) --- Janesville Police held a news conference Tuesday morning to brief the media about the Donald Trump rally being held.
Police say they heard there were 5,000 tickets given out, and that the venue only holds 1,000.
Trump will be holding a rally at the Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Convention Center at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
According to his event notice, doors will open at 1 p.m. In anticipation of large crowds, the public is advised to avoid the area if not attending the rally. Police and emergency personnel will be present to ensure a safe environment for all in attendance.
For those attending the rally, limited parking will be available at the Holiday Inn Express, accessible from Wellington Ct. All other entrances to the Holiday Inn Express will be blocked. Parking will also be available on nearby residential streets. Citizens should not park in business lots without consent from the business.
The following sections of road surrounding the event will be closed:
• Midvale Dr. at Deefield Dr. west to Green Valley Dr.
• Green Valley Dr. at Midvale Dr. south to Pine View Ln.
• Wellington Pl. from Wellington Ct. to Midvale Dr.
A free speech area has been designated directly in front of the Holiday Inn Express on Wellington Pl. between Wellington Ct. and Midvale Dr.