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Alaskan reporter detained by security at Joe Miller event

By Greg Clary, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The reporter says he was pushed against a wall and handcuffed
  • The security guard says the reporter shoved someone into a locker and was aggressive
  • The police are called

Senate hopeful Joe Miller talks to John King live tonight at 7 p.m. ET on 'John King, USA' on CNN.

Washington (CNN) -- A private security guard and a reporter from the Alaska Dispatch offered contradictory accounts of what led to the reporter being handcuffed at a town hall-style event for Senate candidate Joe Miller in Anchorage Sunday night.

The reporter, Tony Hopfinger, said he was trying to ask Miller whether the candidate had ever gotten in trouble for politicking while working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008.

At that point, private security guards hired by the Miller campaign bumped their chests into him and tried to prevent him for asking any more questions, Hopfinger said.

The guards eventually pushed him against a wall and put him in handcuffs, he said.

"It was like a car accident and I had to ask, 'How did this happen so quick? Why am I in handcuffs,'" Hopfinger said.

The Miller campaign released a statement from William Fulton, the security guard who apprehended Hopfinger.

"The Dispatch reporter repeatedly pushed a camera into the face of Mr. Miller. He continued to aggressively pursue him. I told the reporter several times that he needed to stop and that he was trespassing. He ignored me. He then proceeded to stalk Mr. Miller and even shoved an individual into a locker. Based upon this trespass and his assault, we detained him and escorted him from the premises," the statement read.

Hopfinger told CNN he did push the security guard after he said he was pushed.

Police responded to the incident and removed Hopfinger's handcuffs.

Lt. Dave Parker of Anchorage Police said the department is investigating the incident and will turn over their findings to the local prosecutor.

Parker said private security guards in Alaska can make "private person arrests," much like a citizen's arrest.

Hopfinger said he is still in disbelief over what happened.

"Joe Miller wants to be a U.S. Senator and he is going to have it a hell of a lot tougher with journalists in the beltway than he is with local media," Hopfinger said. "I was just doing my job."

 
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