An Indiana man was booted from the delayed entry program for his role in the harassment and assault of a black woman at a March 1 political rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Photographs and amateur video show Joseph Pryor, a 2015 graduate of Corydon (Indiana) Central High School, yelling at a woman later identified as University of Louisville student Kayisha Nwanguma. Attendees repeatedly shoved Nwanguma and shouted for her to “get out” of the Trump rally at Kentucky International Convention Center. Nwanguma later told the New York Daily News that the group cursed at her and used racial slurs. The paper identified one participant as "violent white supremacist" Matthew Heimbach, who established the White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland.
“Concerned citizens” brought a news clip that included the photos and video to the attention of Marine officials on Wednesday, according to Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Miller, public affairs chief for the 4th Marine Corps District. That news clip was on Pryor’s Facebook page, in which he identifies himself as a “future US Marine.” The clip was soon removed, but not before Marine officials saw it and a number of comments that expressed disappointment that a Marine would act in such a way.
Col. John Bolt, the district’s commanding officer, made the decision to discharge Pryor later that day. The recruiting station’s commanding officer informed the Pryor family of the decision.
“The Marine Corps takes situations like this seriously and does not tolerate individuals being associated with this kind of incident,” said Miller, who emphasized the fact that Pryor was not a Marine and had not received the Corps’ values-based training. Pryor enlisted Feb. 4 in the Motor Transportation Program and was scheduled to ship to recruit training in the near future.
“The situation and Pryor's lack of judgement are unfortunate, so in keeping with our ethos, this command decided to part ways with him,” Miller said. “This command encourages equality across the board, and actions that deviate from our values will not be tolerated.”
The Louisville Metro Police Department did not respond to questions, but a search of police reports found no criminal charges filed against Pryor, who did not respond to a request for comment.
Few discharges from the delayed entry program are for incidents of this nature. The 4th Marine Corps District since Oct. 1 has discharged approximately 14 percent of enlistees prior to their being shipped to recruit training, Miller said.
“It is unfortunate anytime we have to discharge someone from our DEP, but in Pryor's case, he demonstrated poor judgement in his use of social media that associates him with a racially charged altercation at a political rally,” Miller said. “Actions that align with prejudice are not tolerated in the Marine Corps.”
Lance M. Bacon is senior reporter for Marine Corps Times. He covers Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Marine Corps Forces Command, personnel / career issues, Marine Corps Logistics Command, II MEF, and Marine Forces North. He can be reached at email@example.com.