Valdosta PD Responds To Claims Protestors Kicked Out Of Trump Rally Based On Race

Mar 2, 2016

Valdosta Police Department

The Valdosta Police Department is refuting claims they ejected 30-40 protesters from Donald Trump’s campaign rally based on race.  Valdosta's Chief of Police posted a lengthy statement on the incident to the department’s facebook page.

Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress says there’s body camera video showing the people removed from Donald Trump’s Monday rally were disruptive and cussing out officers. He also blames the group’s behavior for their removal.

Credit Jim Ash / WFSU News

Childress says the Trump Campaign rented the entire P.E. Complex at Valdosta State University for the rally, and that made the event private under Georgia law. He says that also means the Trump campaign had a right to decide who could and couldn’t enter the event.

As Donald Trump has gained popularity, his campaign rallies have often been disrupted by protestors who have been kicked out.

Read the Full Statement Below:

Recently there has been media attention regarding an incident where 30-40 youth were removed from the Donald Trump Rally in Valdosta on Monday evening. Several people have made allegations that these youth who were predominantly African American, were removed solely based on their race.

To clear up these allegations, everyone must understand that the Trump Campaign rented the entire PE Complex where the event was held which made the event under Georgia Law a private event. It is true that spectators obtained tickets to the rally but they were free and issued by the Trump Campaign. This means that his campaign staff had the right to decide who can and cannot enter and remain on the premises. That is the law, regardless if I or anyone else likes it or not.

Second, the youths were clearly being disruptive and according to various sources to include law enforcement, the Trump staff, and other spectators who observed the initial actions of the youth, they were being disruptive to include using profanity, well before law enforcement made contact with them. This and only this reason was why they were asked to leave the complex. Further, once the youths were escorted outside the complex, they tried to re-enter by jumping in front of others who were waiting to enter the complex. At that point, law enforcement advised the youth again that they must leave the property. To be clear, the youth at that time could have been arrested but law enforcement decided not to which was one of our initial objectives in the first place; to avoid arresting spectators if possible. Body-camera video of the incident showed the youths were disruptive and used profanity against law enforcement. But even then, no force was used against these youth and they were even given alternate protest locations where they may go.

But to suggest that this incident was racially motivated is unfair and simply not factual. If these students had not had a previous agenda to be disruptive, this incident would not have happened. if anyone wishes to place blame on why this happened, the blame lies solely with the youths; period.

Brian Childress
Chief of Police