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Time photographer slammed by Secret Service at Donald Trump rally
Photo via Darron Birgenheier/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
This Trump rally was wilder than usual.
One day before Super Tuesday, Donaly Trump‘s rally in Radford, Virginia, became especially raucous, according to videos and eyewitnesses.
In perhaps the most striking moment of the event, a reporter was slammed to the ground by a member of the U.S. Secret Service.
The Secret Service has not yet responded to our request for comment.
Annie Andersen, a reporter with local news station WSET, identified the reporter as Chris Morris, a photographer with Time magazine.
“I never touched him,” Morris told Andersen. “I tried to show the press lead what he did to me, and I said he choked me, so I put my hand on him, and that’s when I was arrested,” he said.
The moment reportedly started after Morris said “fuck you” to the guard after being blocked.
Monday’s Trump rally was interrupted seven times by protesters, according to Joe Perticone of INJO, which he said was “more than usual.”
When one of the protesters was being escorted out, Trump reportedly said, “Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico?”
Donald Trump to a protester: “Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico?”
— Matt Viser (@mviser) February 29, 2016
Trump also called activists the “enemy,” reported Andersen.
Trump just called activists “the enemy”
— Annie Andersen (@Annie_Andersen) February 29, 2016
Update 1:49pm CT, Feb. 29: Added additional video of the confrontation between Morris and security.
Update 1:58pm CT, Feb. 29: The Trump campaign says the security agent was a member of the U.S. Secret Service, and a spokesperson added that the campaign was not aware of the details surrounding the incident.
We have also added quotes from Morris about the incident.
Update 3:48pm CT, Feb. 29: Time has released a statement confirming that a member of the U.S. Secret Service was involved in the confrontation and condemning his actions. Time says it has reached out to the Secret Service “to express concerns about the level and nature of the agent’s response.” Morris has also “expressed remorse for his part in escalating the confrontation,” according to Time.
The U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement briefly detained a TIME photographer at a Donald Trump rally at Radford University in Virginia Monday, following a scuffle that saw the photographer thrown to the ground in a choke hold.
Chris Morris, a veteran White House photographer working on the campaign for TIME, stepped out of the press pen to photograph a Black Lives Matter protest that interrupted the speech. A video shows that Morris swore at a Secret Service agent who tried to move Morris back into the pen. A separate video of the event shows that the agent then grabbed Morris’ neck with both hands and threw him into a table and onto the ground.
Video also shows that once on the ground, Morris kicked at the agent who was trying to restrain him. Later, Morris briefly put his hand on the agent’s neck. After the exchange, Morris said that he did so in order to demonstrate the choke hold he had just experienced.
TIME has contacted the U.S. Secret Service to express concerns about the level and nature of the agent’s response. Morris has also expressed remorse for his part in escalating the confrontation. A TIME spokesperson said, “We are relieved that Chris is feeling OK, and we expect him to be back at work soon.”
Unlike other presidential campaigns, which generally allow reporters and photographers to move around at events, Trump has a strict policy requiring reporters and cameramen to stay inside a gated area, which the candidate often singles out for ridicule during his speeches. The entrance to the penned area is generally monitored by the Secret Service detail, which also screens attendees at his events and personally protects the candidate.
Photo via Darron Birgenheier/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.