The security guard filmed punching a Capitol rioter last week said she’s been charged with assault over the incident.
28-year-old Ashanti Smith discussed last Wednesday’s insurrection, when Trump supporters descended on the nation’s capital to overturn the result of the election - which went to Joe Biden in a legitimate landslide - saying she punched Therese Duke in self-defense.
“I feared for my life. I’m hearing, ‘Hang her, we’ll kill her, she deserves to die,'” Smith told WHUR radio station Thursday.
The viral video from January 6 showed Smith, dressed in her security guard uniform and mask, surrounded by a crowd of fervent rioters protecting her phone from Duke, at which point Smith plants one on Duke.
“She kept trying to take my phone and take my mask off because I kept asking them to stay away from me, stop following me, and stop being so close in my personal area,” Smith said, adding that many in the pro-Trump crowd were calling her the N-word and accusing her of being a part of Antifa.
Smith, who was on break at the time, said she also believed the mob was trying to rob her. She said a woman who was with Duke was trying to rummage through her pockets during the fracas.
Later that night, Smith said, she was arrested and charged with assault - despite claiming a police officer told her that she was the victim of a hate crime.
She was suspended without pay from her job as her employer continues to investigate the incident.
The Washington, DC-area resident has launched a GoFundMe to help pay legal fees and other expenses while she’s out of work. As of Thursday afternoon, it has reached more than $170,000.