By Seema Mehta, The Associated Press
New details emerged Monday about the arrest of Track Palin, the eldest son of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, with charging documents saying he broke into his parents’ home and beat his father, who was brandishing a gun but refused to shoot.
Track Palin, 28, was arrested Saturday and is charged with first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and criminal mischief; he remains in custody. A court filing describes a chaotic scene at the family’s home in Wasilla, Alaska, when Track Palin confronted his father over a truck he wanted to pick up.
His father, Todd Palin, had told him not to come to the home because Track Palin had been drinking and taking pain medication, according to a sworn police affidavit and charging documents.
“Track told him he was (going to) come anyway to beat his ass,” according to an affidavit filed by Wasilla Police Officer Adam LaPointe.
When Todd Palin confronted his son at the door with a pistol, the younger Palin broke a window and entered the house and started beating his father, according to court filings. Palin pushed his father to the ground and hit him repeatedly on the head, the documents say.
Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, called police at 8:30 p.m. and said her son was “freaking out and was on some type of medication.”
When police arrived, they saw Todd and Sarah Palin fleeing the house in separate vehicles, Todd Palin with blood running down his face and Sarah Palin looking “visibly upset,” the documents say.
Police confronted Track Palin in the residence. He called them “peasants” and told them to lay down their weapons, according to the documents. Eventually, Palin left the house and was placed in handcuffs.
He told police that when he arrived at the house, his father had his gun aimed at him, and he had urged his father to shoot him several times before entering the house, according to the documents.
When policed interviewed Todd Palin, he was bleeding from multiple cuts to his head, and one ear was discharging liquid, documents say. The Wasilla Police Department did not respond to a request for comment about whether its officers interviewed Sarah Palin.
A judge set Track Palin’s bail at $5,000. He remains in custody at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility in Palmer, Alaska. Palmer District Attorney Roman J. Kalytiak said if Palin remains in custody, his office must take the case to the grand jury within 10 days. If Palin pays bail and is released, prosecutors will have 20 days to go before the grand jury.
An attorney for Sarah and Todd Palin declined comment on the case.
“Given the nature of actions addressed … by law enforcement and the charges involved, the Palins are unable to comment further,” John Tiemessen said in a statement. “They ask that the family’s privacy is respected during this challenging situation just as others dealing with a struggling family member would also request.”
Track Palin has had previous brushes with the law. In January 2016, he was arrested for allegedly punching his girlfriend at the same Wasilla home. He pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm while intoxicated, and took a plea deal that resulted in other charges being dismissed. His girlfriend later filed for custody of their child and sought a protective order against him.
At the time of that arrest, Sarah Palin was campaigning for then-candidate Donald Trump during the GOP primaries and caucuses. She alluded to her son’s arrest during a campaign rally, suggesting that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from a military deployment in Iraq.
She described soldiers “who come home from the battlefield bringing new battles with them (and) coming back different than when they left for the war zone.”
“When my own son is going through what he goes through coming back, I can certainly relate to other families who feel these ramifications of PTSD,” she said, before blaming then-President Barack Obama for not respecting veterans.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, when Sarah Palin was Sen. John McCain’s running mate, she frequently spoke of her son’s service in the military. He was stationed in Iraq during most of the general election campaign.
Palin had been governor of Alaska for less than two years and was a relative unknown when she was thrust onto the national stage. The move eventually proved unpopular among some conservatives who questioned whether Palin had the experience and knowledge to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
But Palin’s folksy personality and colloquialisms strongly resonated with the party’s base, and she became a powerful force in national GOP politics following her and McCain’s loss in 2008.
She resigned as governor the following year, but was a frequent presence in the media and on the campaign trail as a forceful critic of Obama and an early supporter of the tea party. Palin sparred with the GOP establishment, and her endorsement swung Republican primary races and drew dollars.
She was the subject of several books as well as a documentary by Steve Bannon. She starred in a television show and flirted with a presidential run in 2012. Her prominence has waned since then, but she remains a popular draw among socially conservative voters.