A right-wing commentator interviewed Jerry Falwell Jr. during his show Wednesday, where Falwell said that there were two arrest warrants open for reporters who came onto Liberty University’s campus.
Upon further examination of the warrant, the police officer who signed the warrant was Detective/Sgt. A.B. Wilkins 206 LUPD. The LUPD is not the Lynchburg Police Department nor is there a Sgt. or Detective A.B. Wilkins. It’s the police department under the authority of Liberty University.
Warrants are typically issued by a judge who directs an arresting officer to execute the warrant. No judge appears to have signed the warrant nor is there a judge mentioned, though the warrant does cite the Lynchburg, Virginia courthouse. The warrant also doesn’t appear to be certified by the clerk that it was submitted to the court. Clerks generally stamp documents when received.
The accused reporters, ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis and a New York Times photographer Julia Rendleman were accused of trespassing on the campus. The warrant called it a “class 1 misdemeanor,” which, according to Virginia law “is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.”
The Liberty University Police Department boasts eight officers. It’s unknown if the Lynchburg Police Department would have been willing to issue a similar warrant for the arrest of the reporters.
You can see the public documents below: