Monday, October 18, 2010

Alaska's Republican, Tea Party Candidate for U.S. Senate Violated 'Alaska Dispatch' Editor's Constitutional Rights

Guards for Alaskan Senate candidate Joe Miller, a self-proclaimed Constitutional Law expert, detained Tony Hopfinger, editor of The Alaska Dispatch, while he was attempting to ask Miller questions at a town hall meeting, which was held last night at Anchorage's Central Middle School. From The Alaska Dispatch:

... Anchorage Police freed Alaska Dispatcher editor Tony Hopfinger from Senate candidate Joe Mlller's body guards at Central Middle School early Sunday evening. Sergeant Mark Rein of the Anchorage Police Department said Hopfinger is not in custody or under arrest.

Hopfinger had been trying to ask Miller questions when two or three guards told him to leave or risk being charged with trespassing.

When Hopfinger continued to try to ask questions, one of the guards put the reporter in an arm-bar and then handcuffed him.

Hopfinger was released after police arrived.

The reporter was on public property where a public event was being held at the time of the incident. ...

Another Alaska Dispatch story has more of what happened, directly from its editor, Hopfinger, and the security guard, William Fulton. That story notes:

... Despite Fulton telling Alaska Dispatch and various other media outlets that he knew he was dealing with a reporter, the Joe Miller campaign promptly put out a press release saying, "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 [sic]."

The press release was headlined "Liberal Blogger Loses it at Town Hall Meeting," although Miller knows well that Dispatch, which is involved in a lawsuit to obtain Miller's Fairbanks personnel records, is not a "blog" but an established online news magazine.

Video footage from Central Middle School cameras may have captured the incident, and Alaska Dispatch will be asking the Anchorage School District to release it.

It is not known at this time whether Hopfinger will be filing charges against the men who detained him. ...

Alaska Dispatch, as well as the Fairbanks News Miner and Anchorage's Daily News have all gone to court to obtain Miller's record as a public employee in Fairbanks in order to learn why his employement there ended.

Gryphen of IM went to the Town Hall meeting and has a report, here. Shannyn Moore has posted about the incident at The Huffington Post, here.

Politico has a report, here. CNN's report is here. Anchorage's KTVA has a report, here. The Anchorage Daily News' report is here.

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