VIDEO: Trump supporter tackled to ground at Bernie Sanders rally alleges political motive
- The man seen being tackled to the ground by a security officer at VWU spoke out in a recent interview with Campus Reform.
- Markus Gohring, a Trump supporter, alleged political bias on the part of the officer.
In an exclusive Campus Reform interview, Markus Gohring, the man seen in the now-viral video being tackled to the ground outside a Bernie Sanders rally on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University, said that he believes the incident was politically motivated.
Gohring, who has retained Virginia Beach attorney Tim Anderson and is seeking to press charges against the officer who tackled him to the ground, was on the VWU campus Feb. 29 standing outside the building where Sanders was set to hold a campaign rally. Gohring said he was walking around while carrying a Trump 2020 flag, talking with people lined up waiting to enter the venue. He says he never became violent or disruptive at the event that was billed as "open to the public," though it occurred on a private university's campus.
"It's an event open to the public. It didn't restrict the people to be there who were just Democrat supporters. And when an event is open to the public, anyone can attend or appear at it," Anderson told Campus Reform.
However, in a statement to local media, a VWU spokesperson described Gohring as "disruptive." The school claims the video circulating on social media does not provide the full context of what occurred.
"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."
While the video does not capture every second leading up to the altercation, it does show the moments just before the officer engaged in physical violence against Gohring. The video depicts the officer grabbing the Trump flag out of Gohring's hand just before wrestling him to the ground. At no point in the video is Gohring seen engaging in physical violence with the officer.
Yet, VWU is citing the "threat to public safety" Gohring allegedly posed as justification for demanding that he leave.
"For them to rely on a private party defense, they would have to escalate the issue that Mr. Gohring did something wrong, did something on property that was disruptive or something that was offensive to the private landowner and at that point, the only thing Mr. Gohring was doing was they were walking the line holding a [Trump] flag," Anderson said, "and that's when the first security guard told them they had to leave."
"It was purely just the first security guard...made a decision that you guys had to leave because you had flags and were saying Trump 2020," the attorney added.
When asked by Campus Reform what he believes was the motive of the officer in telling him to leave and engaging in physical violence, Gohring said, "political reasons, that's all I can think of, is that somebody didn't like that we were there with our Trump flag."
Campus Reform reached out to VWU for clarification on how Gohring posed a threat but did not hear back in time for publication.