RADFORD, Virginia — 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.
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.
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.
Trump’s campaign acknowledged the incident, but declined to share additional details.
“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.