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Joe Miller Security Guards Handcuff Reporter at Alaska Campaign Event

4 years ago
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A reporter for the Alaska Dispatch, an online news site, was handcuffed and arrested by private security guards at a middle school in Anchorage Sunday after trying to question Republican Senate hopeful Joe Miller following a town hall meeting. The guards who arrested the reporter worked for Miller through Drop Zone Security, a private security firm in Anchorage.

According to accounts in the Anchorage Daily News and the Dispatch, the problems started when the reporter, Tony Hopfinger, followed Miller down a hallway in an effort to ask questions about Miller's time as a government lawyer for the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2009. Miller did not respond to the questions, having announced last week that he will no longer speak about his past work experience or personal life.

Hopfinger told the Dispatch that as he followed Miller, he was wrapped up in a crowd of Miller supporters and security guards and pushed someone away from him. That's when a Drop Zone guard grabbed him. "He throws me up against the wall," Hopfinger said. "He handcuffs me." Hopfinger also said the guards took his video camera, the contents of which had been erased when it was later returned to him.

Joe Miller, Tony HopfingerThe guards then called the Anchorage Police to report Hopfinger for trespassing and assault. Anchorage police responded to the scene, took statements for nearly an hour and released Hopfinger.

William Fulton, the owner of Drop Zone Security, would not identify the guards who handcuffed the reporter, but said that Hopfinger was "getting really pushy with Joe. Joe was trying to get away from him." He said the reporter then "shoulder-checked a guy into a locker." Fulton also said that Hopfinger was technically trespassing at the school because the Miller campaign had rented out a room there for the town hall meeting, which the Miller campaign considered a private event.

The Anchorage Daily News
reported that the meeting was open to the public and that reporters had not been asked to apply for credentials to cover it.

After the incident, the Miller campaign released a statement from Fulton, detailing his version of events, as well as a press release titled "Liberal Blogger Loses it at Town Hall Meeting."

Lt. Dave Parker of Anchorage Police said the department is investigating the incident and will turn over their findings to the local prosecutor, the New York Times reported.

Parker said private security guards in Alaska can make "private person arrests," much like a citizen's arrest.

Miller, a Tea Party favorite endorsed by Sarah Palin, defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary in August. He faces Democrat Scott McAdams in the general election, along with Murkowski, who is mounting a write-in campaign.
Filed Under: The Capitolist

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Sounds like Murkowski will do anything to get elected. That lady is not going to go down easy. This mess reminds me of what's going on in Kentucky with Ran Paul. Look at all the garbage Dems went back thirty years ago to get on Ran, during his college days. A initiation in college turns into Ran worshiping a false God. This is the most disgusting election I've ever seen. Next I expect to see what happened when these candidates were in grade school. If people want to know what trash is....why not start with the Congress and Senate members (both Democrats & Republicans) background. There is where you will find real trash, greed and corruption. Especially the ones that have lived off tax payers all their life.

October 22 2010 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although Joe Miller and his goon squad are a disgrace and a threat to our constitutional rights, it is a sad reality that many blind followers will overlook this incident and still vote for him. Acting this blatantly above the law is becoming commonplace among the Tea Party, and the powers that they are seeking will be the biggest violation of American's civil rights that we will ever face in this era.

October 22 2010 at 8:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

It is my understanding after being a cop for eighteen years that the only way a private citizen can make a citizens arrest is if a felony had been committed. The private security gaurd if in my state would have been charged and arrested for unlawfull restraint at the very least. It is not their job or duty to enforce the Law that is waht the Police are for. I further take offense when the individuals involved in this stated they rented a room in a city school for a town hall meeting. This then means that the facility is open to the public, and the reporter had a right to be their. So then how could he be trepassing? I forsee I nice law suit out of this one as well as someone standing in front of a Federal Judge for a civil right violation!

October 20 2010 at 8:35 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Reporters are allowed to shoulder check people at the democrat ralleys and push on up to the canidates . This is ok to most of the bloggers on this site.

October 19 2010 at 12:50 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

These examples of how the so called tea party candidates handle reporters demonstrate just how incompetent they really are. If they can't talk to reporters, what are they going to do in the congress and senate when bills are brought up for discussion? Do they think with their truly minority status, they are going to run roughshod over toher Republicans, much less Democrats and get their way? Or will they, like Joe Miller, send their private security thugs to cuff the senators and congressmen, in effect trying to overthrow the US government? Miller's security demonstrated a very Gestapo-like stance in their handling of the reporter. If Miller or any other tea partier can't handle answering a reporter's questions about what they want to accomplish, they have no business running for public office. Why? Because if they refuse to answer a reporter's questions and won't answer a reporter's questions, they won't answer any questions the private citizens may be asking. Ignoring someone's questions, whether that of a reporter or a private citizen shows an arrogance and contempt for the people they allegedly want to represent. That's the kind of supposed political arrogance the tea party voters claim they want to be getting this country away from. As an old rock song says, "Meet the new boss...same as the old boss!"

October 19 2010 at 12:47 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Richard Havron

This is what Constitutional freedom looks like under the yoke of Tea Party extremists. Alaskan voters may not realize how close the 1935 Purity Tests really (the Tea Party & neo-cons already advocated their own version earlier this year). Joe Miller will decide just who gets to use the 1st Amendment.

October 18 2010 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't buy Miller's story for one second. If that reporter had been from WSN, or the Fox News website, no one would have given him a second look. But because he asked questions that Miller didn't like, he set his goons loose on him. Expect to see more of this crap if the Tea Party wins any seats in this election.

October 18 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Lori's comment

Is Miller afraid of something negative coming out concerning his past work or personal life? Sounds as though Drop Zone rent-a-cops think they're Secret Service people protecting the President. Mr Hopfinger should file charges against Drop Zone.

October 18 2010 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

This is the same Joe Miller who marched at a local festival with his supporters who brandished rifles in a small town parade. I suppose they were just excercising their freedom to intimidate. Now he won't answer questions he doesn't like, and has his "bodyguards" handcuff reporters. All they need now are some brown shirts. I don't care what your politics are. These folks are not Democrats or Republicans. You better start reading about the rise of facisim in the 1930's. It's coming here under the pretense of patriotism and "freedom", just like it did in Germany.

October 18 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

If one wants to lay the blame on the crassness and dumbing down of America and Americans one only has to look at "political discourse" and its advertising. We hear lies and innuendoes spoken by candidates and wonder why the rest of the society has become as such. The same holds true for athletes and "entertainers" who are equals in anti-social behavior. We are a laughing stock to the world when it comes to selecting the "best and the brightest" to lead us. Instead, we get crackpots backing them will more easily control them.

October 18 2010 at 1:14 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply


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