Proposition 8 Debate Turns Violent - With Video

A rally and counter-protest in the southwest turned violent Friday night, and it involved high school district Trustee Ken Mettler.

Video obtained by ABC 23 shows Mettler, a supporter of Prop. 8, kicking and punching a No on 8 demonstrator after he crossed the street to take several signs.

Mettler, who leads the Yes on 8 campaign in Bakersfield, and other supporters were on the northeast corner of Stockdale and California. Dozens of opponents gathered on the northwest corner of the intersection.

In the video, Mettler is seen taking several signs that said Yes on 8 with the "Yes" painted over and replaced with a "No". When Rob Badewitz, a demonstrator, tried to take the signs from him, Mettler kicked and punched him.

"I thought it was ridiculous in the first place," Badewitz said later in an interview.

"Why do we have to be fighting over this?"

After Mettler walked away, demonstrators continued to shout at him. Badewitz then confronted Mettler again.

"I'll see you in jail," Badewitz said.

"Hey buddy, you took a swing at me first," Mettler countered.

Police questioned both men, but neither one was arrested, Sgt. Joe Grubbs said.

Neither Mettler nor Badewitz wanted to pursue a criminal complaint, according to a news release.