VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The campaign trail got physical in Virginia Beach this weekend after a Virginia Wesleyan University security officer confronted a supporter of President Trump.
“I’m not an aggressive person,” said Markus Gohring.
Gohring and his friends wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights Saturday night outside the Bernie Sanders rally.
“I wanted to tell the people that go there that I’m not with them,” Gohring added.
Gohring, who supports the president, stood outside the event at Virginia Wesleyan University for an hour waving a flag before he was approached by a campus security officer.
“I didn’t know who he was, what his authority is and so I asked who authorizes him to tell [me] that I have to go off-grounds,” Gohring said. “We had a little discussion, but he was not approachable in any way.”
At that point, Gohring decided to leave, but as he was walking away security followed.
“He approached me then from behind and the rest is (on) video,” Gohring said.
Video shows the security officer grabbing Gohring’s flag. In the video, the officer physically begins to pull Gohring across the parking lot. Both Gohring and the officer then fall to the ground. Gohring suffered scrapes on his knees. He said he couldn’t believe the guard even pulled out his baton.
“I saw he was pulling a weapon and that’s when I ran,” Gohring added.
Virginia Wesleyan spokeswoman Stephanie Smaglo said the campaign event was on private property. She also said the video didn’t show the actions of the individual before their altercation with the security guard.
“The Bernie Sanders campaign rented a venue on the private property of Virginia Wesleyan University for the site of its February 29 rally. The University, the Virginia Beach Police Department, and private security staff with the Sanders campaign worked diligently to maintain public safety and security. A video circulating on social media shows a security officer engaged in an altercation with a disruptive attendee in the parking lot prior to the rally. Unfortunately, the video does not depict the preceding actions of the individual that necessitated the officer to take action. Virginia Wesleyan University holds freedom of speech and open dialogue at the deepest core of its values. However, when the conversation turns to physical violence and becomes a threat to public safety, it will not be tolerated on our campus.”– Stephanie Smalgo, Virginia Wesleyan spokeswoman
“It was a matter of getting that off of that campus property,” said Gohring’s attorney Tim Anderson. “That was the 100-percent motivation of that campus security guard.”
Gohring hired Tim Anderson to go over his legal options.
“Well there are consequences to actions and so we are going to explore those consequences,” Anderson added. “There are criminal and civil actions that are going to be explored here.”
Anderson plans to press assault charges against the officer as soon as he learns his name.
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