SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - A young man is out of jail after he was charged with assaulting Surfside’s vice mayor, triggering high drama that has some in town claiming the charge was politically motivated.

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Epstein stood before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy S. Glazer, Saturday afternoon.

“Good afternoon, sir,” sad Glazer. “The charge is battery on an elected official.”

The charge stems from a Surfside squabble that allegedly took place after a candidate forum held at Surfside Town Hall, Wednesday night.

Epstein recorded video that was later given to 7News. The footage shows Surfside Vice Mayor Jeff Rose yelling at Epstein, claiming the teen pushed him.

“Keep pushing me, Josh, keep pushing me. Back up,” Rose is heard saying in the video. “You already pushed me once, and you can do it again and see what happens. You already pushed me once, and it’s on camera.”

“If I did, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,” Epstein is heard saying.

“That’s what I thought,” said Rose.

Epstein was arrested Friday evening and taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade.

Epstein’s mother, Eliana Salzhauer, is herself a former Surfside commissioner and critic of town leaders. She gathered Friday with others who believe the charge is politically motivated.

“A felony, for nothing. [My son] never laid hands on him, he never did anything,” said Salzhauer. “We have a vice mayor who is clearly willing to perjure himself to protect his reputation when he is the one who is the aggressor.”

What led up to the exchange captured on video wasn’t recorded on video and isn’t clear.

“So I’m going to release him on his own recognizance,” said Glazer. “He’s 18 with no priors.”

Glazer opted to release Epstein after his family made their case to the judge.

A picture showed family members in the courtroom. Salzhauer is seen holding a sign that reads, “Justice for Josh.”

It’s the latest move in a Surfside squabble that shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

7News reached out to Rose on Friday night before the first report on Epstein’s arrest aired, but as of Saturday night, the vice mayor has not responded.

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