Politics & Policy

Miller Security Guards Handcuff Journalist

Last night, private security guards hired by Republican senate candidate Joe Miller handcuffed the editor of the Alaska Dispatch after he kept questioning and following Miller, who was leaving an Anchorage school where he had just conducted a town hall meeting.

The editor, Tony Hopfinger, remained handcuffed until the Anchorage police arrived and ordered him to be released, reported the Anchorage Daily News.

“While I’ve gotten used to the blog Alaska Dispatch’s assault on me and my family, I never thought that it would lead to a physical assault,” said Miller in a statement. “It’s too bad that this blogger would take advantage of a ‘Town Hall’ meeting to create a publicity stunt just two weeks before the election.”

The security firm, Drop Zone, said that Hopfinger was trespassing and shoved a man. Hopfinger had been trying to question Miller about his time working as an attorney at the Fairbanks North Star Borough, which had recently been in the news after a former borough mayor alleged that Miller had used the borough computer for partisan political activities. (The Miller campaign responded by noting that Miller had not been fired at the time of the alleged computer misuse, but voluntarily resigned months later.)

Hopfinger acknowledges that he shoved a man, but also said that he was encircled by Miller security guards and supporters, which made him feel threatened. There has been no decision made yet by the Anchorage District Attorney’s office on whether Hopfinger will be prosecuted.

Here’s the Miller campaign’s account of the incident:

The Miller campaign was required by the facility to provide security at the event. Even though Joe had spent nearly an hour freely answering questions from those in attendance, the blogger chased Miller to the exit after the event concluded in an attempt to create and then record a ‘confrontation’ with the candidate. While Miller attempted to calmly exit the facility, the blogger physically assaulted another individual and made threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate. At that point the security personnel had to take action and intervened and detained the irrational blogger, whose anger overcame him. It is also important to note that the security personnel did not know that the individual they detained was a blogger who reporting on the campaign. To them, the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democrat senate candidate Scott McAdams both condemned the incident.

“This behavior is particularly disturbing, especially for someone who claims to be a ‘constitutional conservative.’ Apparently Joe Miller has forgotten both the first and fourth amendments to the United States Constitution,” said Murkowski in a statement. “Joe Miller should immediately issue an apology to the editor of the Alaska Dispatch, a legitimate member of the Alaska press corps, who he had handcuffed by a private security firm. We call on him to immediately disavow the actions of his private security guards for violating the constitutional rights of a United States citizen by illegally detaining him. I find it alarming that Joe feels he needs to hire security forces to protect him from Alaskan voters and members of the press.”

“In case you were unaware, the Constitution also applies to reporters,” tweeted McAdams.

UPDATE: For those interested, a couple more accounts of the incident: Red County blogger Thomas Lamb was present, and thinks Hopfinger “crossed the line” into harassment, while Hopfinger gives a more detailed account of the incident to an Alaska Dispatch writer.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The March for Life Is a March for Truth

Pro-lifers are marching today, as they do every year, to commemorate a great evil that was done in January 1973 and to express solidarity with its innocent victims. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade eliminated legal protections for unborn children in all 50 states, and did so without any ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The March for Life Is a March for Truth

Pro-lifers are marching today, as they do every year, to commemorate a great evil that was done in January 1973 and to express solidarity with its innocent victims. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade eliminated legal protections for unborn children in all 50 states, and did so without any ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More

A Nation of Barbers

It seems almost inevitable that long hair is unwelcome at Barbers Hill High School. There’s a touch of aptronymic poetry in Texas public-school dress-code disputes. When I was in school in the 1980s, at the height of the Satanism panic, the local school-district superintendent circulated a list of ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Clarence Thomas Speaks

Those who know Justice Clarence Thomas say that any perception of him as dour or phlegmatic couldn't be more off-base. He's a charming, gracious, jovial man, full of bonhomie and easy with a laugh, or so I'm told by people who know him well. On summer breaks he likes to roam around the country in an RV and stay ... Read More
U.S.

Nadler’s Folly

Jerry Nadler must have missed the day in law school where they teach you about persuasion. The House Democrat made a critical error early in the trial of President Trump. He didn’t just say that Republican senators, who voted to begin the proceedings without calling witnesses, were part of a cover-up. He said ... Read More
U.S.

Nadler’s Folly

Jerry Nadler must have missed the day in law school where they teach you about persuasion. The House Democrat made a critical error early in the trial of President Trump. He didn’t just say that Republican senators, who voted to begin the proceedings without calling witnesses, were part of a cover-up. He said ... Read More