A group of African American students were escorted from a Donald Trump rally Monday at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia after some started shouting profanities in the crowd, authorities said.
But some of the students contend they were kicked out for no reason.
Tahjila Davis, a student at Valdosta State, wrote on Facebook late Monday night that she felt “outraged” and “let down” by the university.
“After we got our tickets, waited in line, went through security and walked to get our seats, Trump’s secret service came up to us and asked us to leave,” Davis wrote. “Again, a group of all black students who WERE NOT there to protest, but to sit in the rally like every else, got KICKED OUT FOR NO REASON.
“There was no yelling, we held no signs, no nothing. After getting put out, the police continued to try to escort us off of our own campus.”
A day later, accounts from students and law enforcement remained murky.
Vincent Jupiter, a 21-year-old mass communications major at Valdosta State University, said about 30 students showed up dressed in all black to show their disapproval of Trump, who has been vocal about his controversial stance on immigration.
“They assumed we were going to start some trouble,” Jupiter told The Post. “We didn’t come to start any trouble. We just wanted to be seen.”
Jupiter said the students also wanted to hear what Trump had to say.
More than an hour before Trump’s arrival at Valdosta State University, as many people were still searching for their seats, Jupiter said his group was approached by people “in uniform” and asked to leave. Jupiter said the students were given no explanation as to why.
“The cops told us they were just following orders,” he said.
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said that the group of students — which included some white students — had started shouting profanities and that Trump staffers escorted them from the arena.
“It didn’t hit our radar until they were escorted from the arena by his staffers,” he said.
Childress said Valdosta city and campus police then escorted the students from the property, explained the situation concerning their behavior and suggested alternative locations where they could exercise their free speech.
“I don’t have an issue with what the Trump detail did,” Childress said. “These folks were causing a disturbance. Does that mean they’re criminals? No. When we explained to them what was going on, they voluntarily left.”
Still, some circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.
Valdosta State University police referred questions to university public relations officials, and a spokeswoman for the university said the school has not released a statement because the rally was not a campus-sponsored event.
And though local police said Trump staffers first responded to remove the students, Trump’s presidential campaign claims no part in it.
A reporter writing for USA Today broke the story, reporting that about “30 black students who were standing silently at the top of the bleachers at Donald Trump’s rally here Monday night were escorted out by Secret Service agents who said the presidential candidate had requested their removal before he began speaking.” That account was later disputed.
Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said that the candidate played no part in it, explaining that Trump was on a plane en route to the event when the incident occurred.
“Neither the candidate nor the campaign was aware of the incident until it was reported in the newspaper,” he said.
Asked about the police account — that staffers had escorted the students from the arena — Lewandowski reiterated that Trump and his people were on a plane at the time.
Secret Service spokesman Robert Hoback said that the Secret Service does not escort protesters from events.
Trump’s campaign “would not have asked the Secret Service to do that because they know the Secret Service would not fulfill that request,” Hoback said. “That is not a function of the Secret Service.”
Trump rented out Valdosta State’s physical education arena — known as The Complex — for the event and, under Georgia Law, could decide who he did and did not want in the arena, authorities said.
During his speech Monday, he slammed the media for being dishonest, touted his poll numbers and criticized his rivals. He promised to negotiate better trade deals, challenge China, repeal the Affordable Care Act, protect gun-ownership rights and be “greedy” for the nation so that it can be wealthy once again. He described Christianity as being weakened piece by piece and pledged to not allow Syrian refugees, most of whom are Muslim, into the country.
He also urged Georgia voters to head to the polls Tuesday and have their voices heard.
“This is in fact a movement — this is not, like, me. This isn’t about me. It’s about you,” Trump said. “I’m just a messenger. And I’m just a messenger, folks.”
It’s a message some students claim they were not permitted to hear.
Jupiter, the Valdosta State student, called the incident “eventful” on Twitter.
“We were interested — we as African American students on campus,” he said. “Although we don’t agree with everything he has to say, we wanted to go see him.”
Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the initial report about the incident was in USA Today.