A photographer covering a Donald Trump rally in Virginia said a Secret Service agent choked him and slammed him to the ground Monday as he tried to leave a media pen at the event where a protest erupted.
A video of the incident shot by an attendee at the rally and later posted on social media shows the agent putting two hands on the photographer’s neck and slamming him to the ground.
Time magazine photographer Chris Morris told CNN that as he tried to exit the media pen, a Secret Service agent began choking him.
“I’m not pressing charges,” Morris said Monday. “I stepped 18 inches out of the pen and he grabbed me by the neck and started choking me and then he slammed me to the ground.”
A Secret Service spokesman said the agency is “aware of an incident involving an employee” and will provide further details of the incident after they gather the facts.
“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,” said spokesman Robert Hoback.
Time Magazine explained the incident in a staff-written article posted on its website that relied on several videos of the altercation that showed both the Secret Service agent choking and slamming its photographer to the ground and the photographer cursing at the agent moments earlier.
The article also noted that a third video shows Morris kicking the agent trying to restrain him while on the ground and then putting his hands on the agent’s neck.
“Morris said that he did so in order to demonstrate the choke hold he had just experienced,” the magazine said in the article written by “Time Staff.”
“We are relieved that Chris is feeling OK, and we expect him to be back at work soon,” a Time spokesperson was quoted as saying in the article.
The Trump campaign confirmed in a statement that “there was an incident involving a photographer and a USSS agent” at the rally.
“We are not aware of all details surrounding the incident and all future inquiries should be directed to local law enforcement,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said.
Before the incident, dozens of protesters interrupted Trump’s rally, many of them linking arms and bringing the Republican presidential front-runner’s stump speech temporarily to a halt.
The protest started after one activist interrupted Trump, to which he responded by asking the protester “Are you from Mexico?”
Some of the demonstrators chanted “Black Lives Matter,” to which Trump responded with “All lives matter.”
After initially resisting, the activists were escorted out of the event site.
CNN’s Tom LoBianco contributed to this report.