Assault Charge Filed Against Virginia Wesleyan Security Director

Cell phone video shows a man and a security officer in a physical altercation during a Bernie Sanders rally at Virginia Wesleyan University last weekend.

Video from WAVY TV 10

An assault and battery charge has been filed against the security director of a Virginia Beach college after an altercation with a demonstrator at a Bernie Sanders rally.

Sanders held a rally at Virginia Wesleyan University on Feb. 29, a few days ahead of Super Tuesday. The rally drew hundreds of Sanders supporters and a small number of Trump supporters, including Markus Gohring, who said he went to the rally to exercise his First Amendment rights, reports WAVY.

Gohring and several friends stood outside the event for an hour waving a Trump flag before being asked to leave by campus security. Security officers can be heard on cell phone video telling the group they are going to call the police if they do not leave.

“I asked normal questions like, ‘Why are you taking my First Amendment rights away? This is a public event, so why am I not allowed to be here?’” he said.

After about five to seven minutes of back and forth interaction, the group made their way towards the parking lot but security officers followed them. Gohring said a security officer, later identified as director Victor Dorsey, pushed him and said, “Move on or move faster.” Gohring said he then held his hand against Dorsey and said, “Do not touch me.”

The video then shows Dorsey grab Gohring’s flag, pulling him across the parking lot. Both men fell to the ground during the struggle.

“When I got up off the ground, I saw him pulling out a baton. That’s when I really felt threatened,” said Gohring, who is then seen sprinting away from the officers.

A statement issued by the university Sunday night said the campaign event was on private property and that the video didn’t show Gohring’s actions before the altercation.

“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,” reads the statement. “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.”

Gohring filed the misdemeanor assault and battery charge against Dorsey Wednesday. Dorsey has since hired legal representation, according to university spokesperson Stephanie Smaglo.

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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