VPD Chief: Race not a factor in students’ expulsion from Trump rally

| March 1, 2016

vsu students

VALDOSTA – Approximately 30 black students were booted from Donald Trump’s rally at Valdosta State University shortly before it began Monday evening, and Valdosta’s police chief said the decision came from Trump’s camp and was not based on race.

The Trump campaign rented VSU’s P.E. Complex for the event, which drew approximately 12,000 people who gathered inside the arena and in an overflow area outside. Because the campaign rented the space and hosted the rally, the campaign has the final say on who is allowed to attend the event, according to VPD Chief Brian Childress.

“During that time that he rented it, he called the shots,” Childress said. “Do I agree with that? Well, it doesn’t matter what I think. That’s the law.”

Security for the event was provided by local law enforcement agencies, including the Valdosta Police Department, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the Valdosta State University Police Department, Georgia State Patrol and more. The local agencies were on hand to provide assistance to Secret Service personnel assigned to Trump’s detail.

“Our objective was to support the Secret Service, protect the students and protect the peace,” Childress said.

Shortly before Trump was scheduled to take the stage, about 30 black students inside the arena were asked to leave.

Tahjila Davis, 19, a VSU mass media student, told USA Today she was among the group who was asked to leave and that they “didn’t plan to do anything.”

“I don’t understand why they would do something like that,” Davis said. “I have not experienced any racism on this campus until now.”

Childress said he believes the issue had nothing to do with race.

“A representative of the Trump detail advised these folks that they needed to leave, but they refused to leave,” Childress said. “It is a private event. I was told by Trump’s folks they they were causing problems, cursing and dropping the F-bomb.”

Childress said the students also tried to cut back in line to re-enter the arena after they had been escorted outside.

“They eventually left of their own accord,” Childress said. “Our folks provided them with two alternate locations where they could go and protest. Whether they went there or not, I do not know.”

Childress said, as far as he knew, no arrests were made during the rally, even though the students could haveĀ been charged with disorderly conduct or criminal trespassing.

“If they are unhappy, they need to blame themselves not law enforcement. Our officers did an extraordinary job,” Childress said. “The law is the law. It is his show, and he can decide who comes in and out of there.”



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Filed in: Local News, News

12 Comments on "VPD Chief: Race not a factor in students’ expulsion from Trump rally"

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  1. dixie&trixie says:

    Let’s hope that VSU is happy with it’s $4000 now lets see how much they lose when people organize not to attend their sporting events

    • Teresa says:

      Did you even read the article dixie&trixie? The school had nothing to do with it. They simply rented out the space. Trump and his staff made them leave, not the school!

      • dixie&trixie says:

        They should not have rented it to him period

        • Tee says:

          Why should they have not rented the facility to him? I’m not a VSU attendee and I have no affiliations with VSU but I would think that if they have a space that’s rentable they should be allowed to rent to whomever they choose. I’m also not a Trump supporter but again, if he paid his money let the guy have his space.

          • dixie&trixie says:

            Because they didn’t go by the same rules that everyone else has to follow in order to rent the facility that’s why Tee

    • Randy Horn says:

      Nobody attends the sporting events anyway.

  2. Matt says:

    Vsu has sporting events?

  3. Robert says:

    I sure didn’t know they had sporting events. The only events i have ever heard of is when ATA has a tournament here in valdosta and uses the facility to compete. I only know this because i am part of ATA.

  4. L Wills says:

    Not Surprised…Alumni Dues???????

  5. Rob S. says:

    I’m supporting another candidate, but how many of you actually watched Trumps’ presentation? Also, do you realize that such high profile African-Americans such as Herschel Walker, Mike Tyson, and Terrell Owens are supporting Trump? There were multiple African Americans behind him as he spoke. I don’t know if that was an actual reflection of the demographics, but there were African Americans around him. Let’s not make this about race.
    ( Now if you want to criticize some of his policies now, I’ll be right there with you.)

    My son and several friends were there. A protest zone had been set-up outdoors, but there was a group raising the black power sign and cursing at other attendees. If your acting like that, your going to get thrown out.

    It’d work the same for Trump supporters attending a Clinton or Sanders event cursing their supporters.

    Free speech ends at the door of the complex, when the complex has been rented by this candidate or any other whether they were running for dogcatcher or P.O.T.U.S.

  6. dixie&trixie says:

    As of Sunday all of the people you named have said they no longer support him after he couldn’t denounce the Klan but who cares who’s supporting him that has nothing to do with the fact that proper policy was not followed in order to rent the building according to VSU’s own policy