Alaska Dispatch founder and editor Tony Hopfinger was grabbed and handcuffed by a private security detail working for U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller on Sunday while trying to ask the Fairbanks Republican questions following a town hall meeting at Central Middle School in Anchorage on Sunday.
Hopfinger was reportedly pressing Miller on whether the candidate had ever been reprimanded for politicking while working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008. Alaska Dispatch and other media have sued for the release of records related Miller’s time at the borough. Various accounts of what happened next generally agree on this course of events:
- Two or three bodyguards told Hopfinger to stop asking questions and to leave the building.
- Hopfinger continued to ask questions while apparently videotaping the candidate.
- Bodyguards told him that if he persisted they would arrest him for trespassing, but refused to identify themselves to Hopfinger.
- Hopfinger asked why he was trespassing, as the event was at a public school. Seconds later, he was then put in arm-bar and later handcuffed and sequestered at one end of a hallway for at least 30 minutes. He was told, “You’re under arrest.”
- Anchorage Police arrived on the scene shortly after.
Police were still trying to sort things out as this was written.
Miller had been at the school for a town hall meeting. State Sen. Fred Dyson, a Republican from Eagle River, appeared there to praise Miller, as did at least one other speaker. Miller than spent about forty-five minutes fielding questions from an audience that had been invited by Miller supporters. Hopfinger, who had learned at the last minute of Miller’s planned appearance at the public school, ducked into a hallway after the meeting to pose his own questions to Miller.
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Considering there were multiple agents on this assignment, stopping the individual from advancing (short of a citizens arrest) and removing the Principal (Mr. Miller) from the area would have been the more traditional approach. It definitely would have spared the client the negative publicity he is sure to endure as a fallout from this. EsRM would provide security for him.~ES
*EDIT: You can now click HERE for a video news report that includes interviews with the Security Agency Owner and the Reporter.