A Trump supporter has been charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor, for breathing on protesters following an incident that took place outside the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, over the weekend.
Video shows part of the November 21 altercation, which featured a man in a Trump shirt, identified as Raymond Deskins, 61, in an argument with two women who complained that he was too close to them and not wearing a mask.
“Get away!” one of the women could be heard saying, prompting Deskins to address her directly.
“I’m not in anybody’s face,” Deskins said.
“You are in my face and you don’t have a mask,” a protester responded.
Deskins then exhaled, prompting a protester to accuse him of assault.
“I breathed on you,” he said.
“That’s assault. That’s assault,” the woman said:
Trump supporter forcefully exhaling without a mask on a protester outside the Trump National Golf Club, Nov. 21, 2020 pic.twitter.com/Bq2mMH1At0
— Douglas Christian (@DougChristianDC) November 21, 2020
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office released a statement following the viral video, announcing Deskin’s charge.
“This afternoon our deputies served a warrant obtained by a citizen through a Loudoun County Magistrate. Raymond Deskins, age 61, of Sterling, VA, was charged with simple assault (misdemeanor) and released on a summons,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Sunday update:
Update on video circulating on social media after an incident near Trump National Golf Club. pic.twitter.com/NFnbmOnYRi
— Loudoun Co. Sheriff (@LoudounSheriff) November 22, 2020
One of the protesters, Kathy Beynette, told News4 that they, the alleged victims, are “both senior citizens” and therefore in a “high-risk category.”
“He just proceeded to assault us by taking a deep breath and doing a very powerful exhalation on both of us,” Beynette told the outlet.
“Because of this guy, my family has had to cancel the small Thanksgiving that we had planned with just a few people because I said I might’ve been exposed,” she added.
Virginia does not currently emphasize the use of masks in outdoor spaces.
“While the use of masks, also known as cloth face coverings, has been recommended during the COVID-19 outbreak, as of May 29, 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia now requires that people wear masks when spending time in indoor public settings,” the Virginia Department of Health states.
“Masks are not needed for going outside to take a walk or work in your garden,” it adds.