An ugly scene broke out during a Donald Trump event at Radford University in Virginia on Monday that ended with a Secret Service agent choking and then violently slamming a photographer to the ground.
Here’s more on the scene from the Wall Street Journal:
The rally, at Radford University on Monday, drew a crowd of about 3,000, most of them Trump supporters. But about 30 young supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement interrupted Mr. Trump’s remarks, chanting, “No more hate, let’s be great.” Mr. Trump urged security guards to expel the protesters—“Get ‘em out.” As they were being removed, Christopher Morris, a veteran photographer for Time magazine, attempted to move out of a press holding area to take pictures of the protesters. As he did so, a Secret Service agent assigned to the Trump campaign told him to retreat. They scuffled, and the agent grabbed the photographer by the neck and threw him to the ground. From the ground, Mr. Morris kicked the agent.
A closer angle shows that Morris said, “Fuck you” to the Secret Service agent as he tried to block his access; the agent appears to respond, “What?” before going after Morris:
Here's moments prior. The reporter says "f*ck you" — that's when it got physical pic.twitter.com/h9K2wIbEWQ— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) February 29, 2016
Here’s another angle:
And the aftermath:
Secret Service agent choke slams reporter pic.twitter.com/jdsHOlylSB— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) February 29, 2016
Here’s Time’s response to the incident:
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.”
“I’ve worked for nine years at the White House and have never had an altercation with the Secret Service,” Christopher Morris said in a statement. “What happened today was very unfortunate and unexpected. The rules at Trump events are significantly stricter than other campaigns and make it very difficult to work as a photographer, as many others have pointed out before me. I regret my role in the confrontation, but the agent’s response was disproportionate and unnecessarily violent. I hope this incident helps call attention to the challenges of press access.”
Time photog Chris Morris tells me how he was grabbed and taken down at Trump rally pic.twitter.com/XKDJarpXda— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) February 29, 2016
The Secret Service said it was reviewing the altercation:
The Secret Service is aware of an incident involving an employee of the Secret Service that occurred earlier today in Radford, VA. At this time, our local field office is working with their law enforcement partners to determine the exact circumstances that led up to this incident. The Secret Service will provide further details as warranted once additional facts surrounding the situation are known.