(Update, Sunday, Nov. 22 at 5:21 p.m.) A 61-year-old man from Sterling has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he was caught on video deliberately coughing on two women protesting outside Trump National Golf Club.
According to Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Michele Bowman, on Sunday afternoon, deputies served a warrant to Raymond Deskins, who was charged with simple assault and released on a summons.
“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,” Bowman wrote in an email to county supervisors who requested an investigation of the incident.
In 2012, Deskins, a former air traffic controller, was convicted of worker’s compensation fraud. An investigation had revealed that in June 2004, Deskins submitted a notice of traumatic injury to the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs claiming Federal Employees’ Compensation Act benefits in connection with an injury sustained during his employment with the Federal Aviation Administration. From 2005 through 2008, while receiving disability benefits based on his inability to perform work of any kind, Deskins worked as a construction foreman for a Sterling-based general contractor. He falsely certified to the Department of Labor on annual forms that he had not been engaged in any work activities during the reported periods. Deskins subsequently received nearly $700,000 in federal workers’ compensation benefits.
Since letter was initially sent, Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run) has also co-signed.
Four Loudoun County supervisors are pushing for Sheriff Michael L. Chapman and Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj to investigate an incident in which an unidentified man was caught on video deliberately coughing on two women protesting outside Trump National Golf Club.
The incident was caught on video by Reel Political News correspondent Douglas Christian and shared on Twitter, who was covering protests outside Trump National Golf Club while Trump, inside, golfed rather than attend a G20 Summit meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christian also captured a photo of a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy speaking to the man, and tweeted “officers seemed to know who he was.”
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, actions like the as-yet unidentified Trump supporter’s have led to assault charges in other jurisdictions.
County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), Vice Chairman Supervisors Koran Saines (D-Sterling) and Supervisors Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn) and Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian) signed a Nov. 22 letter to Chapman and Biberaj asking that “a full investigation be completed to ascertain if the man seen coughing in the video has violated any laws, and if so are charges applicable.” They also asked for updates to be provided to the full Board of Supervisors.
“We are in a hundred-year, highly contagious, worldwide pandemic of a deadly virus that has killed more than 250,000 Americans,” the letter reads. “All of the Loudoun County numbers are headed in the wrong direction. Science has confirmed, and it has been widely reported, that wearing a mask is a very effective way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Conversely, not wearing one and not socially distancing, is clearly irresponsible. Willfully coughing in someone’s face is clearly dangerous.”
According to the Virginia Department of Health, Loudoun County is averaging 65 new cases of COVID-19 reported a day. The virus has killed 139 people in Loudoun.