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A Georgia Tech University student is suing Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) after the senator allegedly grabbed his phone from his hands, the Hill reports.
On Oct. 13, Nate Knauf tried to ask Perdue why he endorsed Georgia’s secretary of state Brian Kemp, who was recently accused of suppressing minority voter registration. Knauf filed a lawsuit against the senator on Monday.
The interaction was recorded on the student’s cellphone.
Today @sendavidperdue visited Tech to campaign for Kemp. A student tried asking a simple question about @BrianKempGA 's racist scheme to threaten voter registrations from black people, but before he could even finish the question, Perdue stole his phone. pic.twitter.com/K0iffU57Di— YDSA Georgia Tech (@YDSAGT) October 13, 2018
The student can be heard asking Perdue, “Hey, so, uh, how can you endorse a candidate—” before the video starts to shake and Perdue responds, “No, I’m not doing that.”
Perdue then takes the student’s phone and starts walking off as Knauf says multiple times, “You stole my property.”
The senator responds: “Alright, you wanted a picture?”
“Give me my phone back, Senator,” the student says.
After the back-and-forth, the video shows the senator handing the student his phone back and walking away.
People on Twitter were unhappy with Perdue’s actions.
@sendavidperdue is it your custom to grab private property from a citizen?— Tara Wisdomeyes (@TaraWisdomeyes) October 13, 2018
It's not often a US Senator will commit a petty crime in public in broad daylight.— Goonytoons (@ToonyGoons) October 14, 2018
Is that an actual thing? Like could he be forced to resign? (Pleasepleasepleaseplease be a thing!)— YellowDog (@hduranthon) October 14, 2018
Perdue’s spokeswoman told the Hill in a statement that the senator thought the student wanted a picture with him.
“When he realized they didn’t actually want to take a picture, he gave the phone back,” the spokeswoman said.
Knauf said in a statement Monday that Perdue, “ripped the phone out of my hands … instead of answering in a civil and respectful way.” Knauf’s attorney said that his client is awaiting an apology and an answer to his question of why Perdue endorsed Kemp.
H/T the Hill
Sunny Kim studies journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She's an editorial intern with the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in the Daily Texan and Popular Mechanics.