Virginia resident Raymond Deskins has been charged with misdemeanor assault after an incident outside of Trump’s golf course in Virginia recently. During a heated interaction between Deskins and anti-Trump demonstrators, Deskins — a Trump supporter — forcefully breathed on the demonstrators, as if to mock their concern about COVID-19. One of the people who Deskins targeted, Kathy Beynett, is 67 years old and, as such, is at a potentially high risk of serious COVID-19 complications. During the initial confrontation, Deskins was wearing a Trump-shaped pool float around his waist.
Deskins “was released on a summons,” an NBC News report explains, although it’s not immediately clear when he might be slated to appear in court. Beynett captured video footage of part of the original confrontation, which attracted a lot of attention online. Michele Bowman, who serves as public information officer at the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, says that two “separate parties” reported that they had been accosted by Deskins. Bowman explained the following:
‘On November 21, 2020, two separate parties reported they were assaulted during a verbal argument outside of Trump National Golf Club, located at 20391 Lowes Island Boulevard. As the incident was not witnessed by law enforcement and the video did not capture the entire interaction, an investigation was conducted on scene and both parties were advised they could go to a Loudoun County Magistrate and seek a citizen obtained warrant.’
The Daily Progress — a Charlottesville, Virginia-area newspaper — reports that “states — including North and South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Idaho and New Hampshire — also allow private citizens to initiate criminal charges, to an extent.” Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney Dave Chapman explained to the same publication that if a prospective citizen obtained warrant involves “a felony matter, a magistrate cannot issue an arrest warrant without the commonwealth’s attorney or law enforcement officer signing it.” As the incident involving Deskins did not involve an accusation of a felony, his arrest warrant evidently did not require a sign-off from state attorney or law enforcement officer — only appropriate evidence from Beynett.
According to Beynett, Deskins has repeatedly confronted anti-Trump demonstrators outside of Trump’s golf course in Virginia, where the president has frequently visited. Trump stopped by yet again this past weekend. Although Trump has not taken questions from reporters in awhile, he’s continued the brisk pace of his tweeting and golfing. The original incident involving Deskins unfolded on Saturday, and he faced his charge on Sunday.