VALDOSTA — The removal of a group of young people from a Donald Trump rally at Valdosta State University Monday evening was not a racial incident, Chief of Police Brian Childress insisted.
"There were definitely caucasians in the group," Childress said. "They were causing a disturbance."
No one was arrested.
"There were no physical altercations," Childress said.
"We had 7,000 people inside and probably around 12,000 people altogether and there was not a single arrest. That says a lot," he said.
Childress said about 30 people were removed from the P.E. complex where Trump was scheduled to speak, prior to the candidate's arrival.
He explained that Trump's security detail escorted the group out because they were causing a disturbance.
"They were not removed because of signs, because of their belief, or because of race. They were removed because they were loud and disruptive and dropping the F bomb," Childress said.
He said the removal was done so quietly that few people in the large crowd noticed anything going on.
The chief explained his department had set up designated protest zones and even when they were taken out of the complex, the group was told where they could stage protests.
Childress said a nearby church and businesses had allowed his department to set up the protest zone on their properties, not to support Trump or the protesters, but as a favor to the Valdosta Police Department.
"We work hard to protect First Amendment rights," Childress said.
"I resent people trying to make this a racial issue. They were removed simply because they were causing a disturbance. Besides, the Trump detail had rented the facility and had a right to say who could be there," Childress said.