A reporter for the Alaska Dispatch was detained and handcuffed at a Joe Miller event on Sunday night. His crime was attempting to ask the candidate a question that Joe Miller didn’t to answer. Security apparently perceived this as a threat.
The reporter, Tony Hopfinger, said he was trying to ask Miller whether the candidate had ever gotten in trouble for politicking while working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008. At that point, Hopfinger said, private security guards hired by the Miller campaign bumped their chests into him and tried to prevent him from asking any more questions. The guards eventually pushed him against a wall and put him in handcuffs.
“It was like a car accident and I had to ask, ‘How did this happen so quick? Why am I in handcuffs,'” Hopfinger said.
The Miller campaign released a statement from William Fulton, the security guard who apprehended Hopfinger.
“The Dispatch reporter repeatedly pushed a camera into the face of Mr. Miller. He continued to aggressively pursue him. I told the reporter several times that he needed to stop and that he was trespassing. He ignored me. He then proceeded to stalk Mr. Miller and even shoved an individual into a locker. Based upon this trespass and his assault, we detained him and escorted him from the premises,” the statement read.
Hopfinger told CNN he did push the security guard after he said he was pushed himself.
Police responded to the incident and removed Hopfinger’s handcuffs.
“Joe Miller wants to be a U.S. Senator and he is going to have it a hell of a lot tougher with journalists in the beltway than he is with local media,” Hopfinger said. “I was just doing my job.”
I have to agree. If Joe Miller doesn’t like having cameras and microphones shoved into his face, maybe he shouldn’t be running for the U.S. Senate. And if he expects to be allowed to get away with only answering the questions he likes, and having his security rough up anyone who asks a tough one, perhaps he’s unfit for the job. In case no one has told Joe Miller, he should be advised that the Constitution also applies to reporters. You don’t get to pick and choose which people have the right to speak around you.
If this is how Joe Miller acts as a candidate, what can Alaskans, and the country, expect from him as a Senator?