Unbelievable... There's nothing much I can add to this, so I'll just reprint what Mike Stark (the guy beat up by a couple of Senator George Allen's (R-VA) campaign staffers) wrote. Update: Keep reading to see the published response from the George Allen campaign website as well as a third party rundown from USA Today.
Letter from Mike Stark
The following is a letter to NBC29 from Mike Stark, the man who was tackled for a comment he made at Senator Allen's campaign stop in Charlottesville on Tuesday.
My name is Mike Stark. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, a marine, and a citizen journalist. 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. His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground. Video footage is available here, from an NBC affiliate.
I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. 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. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions.
George Allen defends his support of the Iraq war by saying that our troops are defending the ideals America stands for. Indeed, he says our troops are defending our very freedom. What kind of country is it when a Senator's constituent is assaulted for asking difficult and uncomfortable questions? What freedoms do we have left? Maybe we need to bring the troops home so that they can fight for freedom at George Allen's campaign events. Demanding accountability should not be an offense worthy of assault.
I will be pressing charges against George Allen and his surrogates later today. George Allen, at any time, could have stopped the fray. All he had to do was say, "This is not how my campaign is run. Take your hands off that man." He could have ignored my questions. Instead he and his thugs chose violence. I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I'll be damned if I'll let my country be taken from me by thugs that are afraid of taking responsibility for themselves.
It just isn't the America I know and love. Somebody needs to take a stand against those that would bully and intimidate their fellow citizens. That stand begins right here, right now.
W. Michael Stark
And now here's the response from the George Allen Campaign:
Allen Campaign Demands Webb Restrain Out of Control Supporter
October 31, 2006
Contact: Press Office
ARLINGTON, VA – At the conclusion of a well attended event in Charlottesville, a Webb supporter wearing an Allen sticker aggressively went after Senator Allen, who was at an event with his wife Susan and Senator Elizabeth Dole, screaming that he answer inappropriate questions.
As the Senator was trying to exit the room with a campaign staffer, the Democrat activist, identified as Mike Stark, pushed the Allen staffer. Later, volunteers restrained him and asked to leave the building when he approached the Senator a second time, asking inappropriate questions.
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. In August, Stark was asked to leave a Holiday Inn by management “after he became combative” while interrupting a press conference with Senator Allen. (Chris Graham, “Webb Supporter Asked to Leave Allen Event after N-Word Question,” Augusta Free Press; August 25, 2006)
Stark has a history of violent outbursts on the Daily Kos, an extreme left-wing website, such as his post “The F*****g Way…Take These RNC F*****s Down”. Daily Kos Link
He also posted his intention last night on his blog, Calling All Wingnuts, which is subtitled “Kickin’ a*s on the lyin’ side: A never-ending battle against stupid, ugly, deceitful and corrupt right-wing water carriers…” in which he wrote in reference to stalking Senator Allen,“So yeah… I miss doing this stuff - it seemed that at least once a month, something would happen that really got the adrenaline flowing… I miss those tasty morsels of victory.” (www.callingallwingnuts.com; Accessed October 31, 2006)
Last, but not least, here's the third party review of the event from USA Today:
USA Today 11/1/2006 10:03 AM ET
Heckler subdued at George Allen event
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A campaign appearance by Sen. George Allen turned physical when a liberal blogger was wrestled to the ground after heckling the senator about his divorce and court records.
Mike Stark, a first-year University of Virginia law student, approached Allen at an event Tuesday in a Charlottesville hotel, loudly asking, "Why did you spit at your first wife, George?" The confrontation was captured by WVIR-TV in Charlottesville.
RAW VIDEO: Blogger put in chokehold, pushed to floor
Three men, all wearing blue Allen lapel stickers, immediately grabbed Stark, put him in a chokehold, dragged him backward and slung him to the carpet outside a meeting room.
Stark said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press: "I am a constituent. I am allowed to ask my U.S. senator questions." He later demanded that Allen fire the staffers who accosted him and threatened to press charges.
In a posting a day before the incident, Stark hinted on his liberal Web log "Calling All Wingnuts" that he would attempt to provoke Allen before the TV cameras.
"I'm also trying to 'Roger and Me' George Allen whenever I can," Stark wrote, referring to director Michael Moore's 1989 documentary in which he repeatedly tried to confront former General Motors' chief executive Roger Smith about the company's downsizing.
Allen's former wife, Anne Waddell, who lives in California, said that she and Allen divorced more than 22 years ago, and that because it was a personal matter they sealed the divorce records. She issued a statement calling Stark's question "a baseless, cheap shot."
According to a news release from Allen's campaign, the incident began when Stark pushed an Allen staffer. "Later, volunteers restrained him and asked to leave the building when he approached the senator a second time, asking inappropriate questions," the release said.
The scuffle wasn't the first time Stark has confronted Allen. In August, Stark similarly approached the senator after a speech at a hotel near Staunton, loudly asking if he had ever used a six-letter epithet against blacks.
That was two weeks after Allen, at a rally, referred to a volunteer for the senator's Democratic opponent as "macaca," which is considered by some to be a racial slur.
Stark said Tuesday that he approached Allen at the same time reporters did after his speech and first asked him about two court summonses issued for Allen in Albemarle County in 1974.
A county court index book reflects that they were issued, but supporting documents that would explain them were destroyed long ago. Allen has said the two offenses were for fishing without a license and too many unpaid parking tickets.
A new statewide poll conducted for CNN showed Allen's Democratic challenger, former Navy Secretary Jim Webb, with a slight lead in the fiercely contested race that could help determine whether the GOP retains control of the Senate.