CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Citadel issued an apology to BuzzFeed.com after one of its reporters was reportedly "pushed and shoved" and "ripped" away from her iPhone by college public safety officials following a Rick Santorum speech where an Occupy protester threw glitter at the Republican presidential candidate.
A letter issued to BuzzFeed.com from Jeff Perez, Vice President of External Affairs at The Citadel, stated, "I understand and appreciate how hard reporters must work to get the story, and I'm very sorry that Rosie Gray had a negative experience on Saturday night."
According to Gray, after an Occupy protester threw glitter at Santorum (VIDEO HERE) at the Mark Clark Hall on Saturday, several people, which she identified at the time as police officers, moved the protesters outside. Gray says when she was in the process of taking a picture of the protesters, the officers ordered her to leave, "pushed and shoved" her and "ripped" away her iPhone.
Perez stated that the college's public safety department was contacted by Santorum's campaign, who had rented space at the hall, and requested that several individuals involved in an incident with Santorum be removed.
According to Perez, the protesters were being escorted out of the Mark Clark Hall by Santorum's campaign staff members when the college's public safety officers arrived and took over the removal of the protesters.
In Perez's letter he states, "As the Public Safety officers were escorting the disruptive individuals off campus, those individuals wanted to stop for photographs and interviews. The Public Safety officers were in the midst of performing their duties in escorting them off campus, and did not stop ... Regretfully, one of the officers did indeed say,"no pictures" which he should not have - he was trying to make clear that he was not going to stop."
Perez's letter went onto say that, "Neither officer recalls grabbing Ms. Gray's iPhone and letting it fall to the ground. Regardless of how it happened, I would be happy to reimburse Ms. Gray if her iPhone were damaged."
"As a result of what happened our Public Safety officers are receiving further training in order to help members of the public and representatives of the press understand the actions officers are taking so that their experiences on campus be positive," Perez's letter stated. "Please convey to Ms. Gray my apology for any misunderstanding resulting from Saturday night."