WASHINGTON – AM [RAW]
The US Secret Service is investigating a confrontation between a Time magazine photographer and a Secret Service agent at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Virginia that ended with an agent apparently placing his hands around the photographer’s throat and forcing him to the floor.
‘The Secret Service is working with local law enforcement to try to get to the bottom of what exactly happened,’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters during a briefing.
‘The leadership of the Secret Service has indicated that they’ll take appropriate steps based on the conclusion of that investigation.’
The rally on Monday was interrupted by protesters, including some from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Video footage of the altercation, which was posted on the internet, shows Time magazine photographer Christopher Morris getting close to the agent, who threw him to the ground and Morris kicking the agent from the floor.
The magazine said Morris was knocked to the ground after stepping out of the press hold to take a picture of protesters.
A Trump campaign spokeswoman acknowledged the incident, but said the campaign was not aware of the details.
In a statement published in Time, Morris said he had covered the White House for nine years without altercations with the Secret Service.
‘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,’ Morris said.
‘I regret my role in the confrontation, but the agent’s response was disproportionate and unnecessarily violent.’
Free speech advocates have decried Trump’s treatment of protesters and reporters at his rallies, including ushering out dissenters and shouting at the press.
The Secret Service said it would never intervene to quiet protesters or restrict journalists unless there was a public safety matter.