Charge filed against Virginia Wesleyan security director after tussle during Sanders rally

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 21:06:39-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - An assault and battery misdemeanor charge was filed against the Director of Security of Virginia Wesleyan University after a tussle during a Bernie Sanders rally last Saturday.

This incident has drawn national attention.

The rally happened at Virginia Wesleyan University.

Markus Gohring was part of a small number of Trump supporters who showed up to protest. He said they were asked to leave by security.

The conversation started to get heated, and security officer repeatedly asked the protesters to leave while the group continued asking why.

“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?’" Gohring said.

Security guards are heard on video saying they are going to call the police.

Gohring said there was some back and forth for about 5 to 7 minutes before they started to make their way to their cars.

“When the security guard - who was a little bit in front of me - went into my back and pushed me and said, 'Move on or move faster,' I turned around and held my hand against him and said, 'Do not touch me,'" said Gohring.

He said that is the moment when the situation escalated.

“When I got up off the ground, I saw him pulling out a baton. That's when I really felt threatened,” said Gohring.

He said he ran for his life. He also said he suffered minor injuries and took out charges against Victor Dorsey Wednesday night in Virginia Beach with his attorney, Tim Anderson.

Dorsey is listed as the Director for Security for the university on the school's website.

Sunday night, Virginia Wesleyan University issued the following statement:

The Bernie Sanders campaign requested 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 order.

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.
Virginia Wesleyan University

On Monday, News 3 contacted the university again to clarify if the security officer worked for the university and if the university was pursing charges. We also asked them for clarification on the statement they released and asked them to explain what the disruptive attendee did that necessitated the officer to take action.

Virginia Wesleyan University issued the following statement on Monday afternoon:

Both sides now have legal representation, and as such, the University can unfortunately provide no further comment. But to restate, Virginia Wesleyan University has an open invitation to all presidential candidates. The Bernie Sanders campaign accepted that invitation and rented a venue for a rally for its supporters. The Sanders campaign contracted with the Virginia Beach Police Department, Proper Staffing Security, and Virginia Wesleyan for safety and security the evening of the event.
Virginia Wesleyan University

Thursday, we asked if the university had any comment about the charges filed, and below is the response from the university:

On behalf of the University: On the advice of legal counsel, Virginia Wesleyan University cannot comment.
Virginia Wesleyan University