A Pennsylvania state lawmaker just got caught on camera assaulting a photographer at a public speaking event, confiscating his camera and refusing to return it in a pair of videos which you can see below.
The photographer is an opposition researcher for the political action committee American Bridge, who walked into the back of the room and recorded about five minutes of the Senator’s comments.
Republican State Senator Scott Wagner was attending an event as part of his Quaker state gubernatorial campaign when he creepily spoke about himself in the third person to the York County Estate Planning Council at the local country club, where he’s a member.
“We’re about the see our State Senator in action.”
That’s when Wagner struck like a thief in the night, but in broad daylight, on camera and in front of a room of about 100 people.
The progressive political action committee was quick to pounce on Wagner’s childish behavior at the County Club, which went on for several minutes after the initial assault and theft. Philly.com reports:
Lizzy Price, an American Bridge communications director, had a different perspective: “Scott Wagner’s actions today show how unhinged he truly is. If he can’t handle the pressure of the campaign, what makes him think he can handle leading the state? ”
Price would not identify the tracker, who she said got his video camera and tripod back, but without the memory card. Even so, she said, the tracker was able to retrieve the footage because he had set it to record both on the camera and the memory card. She said the tracker received medical attention and is fine.
In light of the Senator’s remarks, he’s likely to face a civil rights lawsuit since he indicated that the speech was in his official capacity as a legislative public official, rather than as a political candidate, but the lawmaker boldly told his victim in local media: “bring it on.”
Wagner wrongly claims that his assault – at a club where he’s a member – was justified because of his claim that the American Bridge photographer was trespassing.
Scott Wagner should know better that the First Amendment restricts all public servants and agents of the state from impairing photographers free speech rights, and if there’s a private property right at stake – such as trespassing – well that is why America spends a fortune on police to arrive and impartially enforce those laws.
But they were called.
Regardless of any ensuing legal action, local observers are already comparing this incident to the infamous 2006 video of former Virginia Senator George Allen being caught on tape saying a racial slur, which ended his previously rising political career.
Watch the lawmaker’s assault here: