Video: Law student, blogger in physical confrontation with Senator Allen's staff

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday October 31, 2006

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A confrontation between a law student and supporters of Senator George Allen (R-VA) became physical earlier today, as the police investigate whether physical assault charges would be warranted.

Allen was campaigning in Charlottesville, Virginia this morning when Mike Stark, who blogs at Calling All Wingnuts, approached the Senator to ask if he ever spit on his first wife.

The video shows Stark being tackled by campaign staffers, put in a chokehold by one, and tossed to the floor.

Stark reported the incident to the Charlottesville Police, the Washington Post reports, and the police said that they are investigating whether assault charges should be warranted.

"We will find out who the people are, give him the information and he can go to the magistrate and try to obtain a warrant for them," Charlottesville Police Lt. Gary Pleasants told the Post.

Senator Allen's spokesman told the Post that Stark pushed him as he "tried to approach the senator and Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), who was campaigning for Allen."

"He did it in a very menacing way," Dan Allen told the Post.

"People have a right to express themselves and do it in a peaceful manner," Allen stated after the confrontation, according to a NBC 29 report. "And that's their right to do so."

Stark wrote a letter to NBC 29 explaining why he asked the senator if he ever spat at his first wife.

"Earlier today at a public event, I was attempting to ask Senator Allen a question about his sealed divorce record and his arrest in the 1970s, both of which are in the public domain," wrote Stark. "His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground."

"I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government," Stark continued. "I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign."

Stark maintained that "Allen, at any time, could have stopped the fray."

"All he had to do was say, 'This is not how my campaign is run,'" Stark wrote. "'Take your hands off that man.'"

"He could have ignored my questions," Stark continued. "Instead he and his thugs chose violence."

The Allen campaign also sent out a press release containing its own version of the incident. Allen's campaign also blasted Stark's history of "violent outbursts" at the popular Daily Kos Web site.

The press release says nothing about chokeholds or possible over-reactions by Allen staffers, although videos showing the incident can be seen all over the Internet and on cable news. According to the Allen campaign, staffers only "restrained" Stark after he pushed one of them, then "asked him to leave the building."

"This was not the first time that Stark, a frequent Daily Kos blogger, has aggressively confronted Senator Allen in front of TV cameras and been removed from the premises by event security," said the Allen campaign's statement. "In August, Stark was asked to leave a Holiday Inn by management 'after he became combative' while interrupting a press conference with Senator Allen.

An article on that incident written by Chris Graham for the Augusta Free Press, "Webb Supporter Asked to Leave Allen Event after N-Word Question," can be read at this link.

"Stark has a history of violent outbursts on the Daily Kos, an extreme left-wing website, such as his post 'The Fg Way...Take These RNC Fs Down,'" the Allen campaign statement continued.

The following video is taken from NBC 29 coverage:

The Associated Press also has a video report which can be seen at this link.

Another video report by CNN can be viewed at this link.

Americablog has screenshots taken from the video clips.