A reporter was brutally arrested by multiple Virginia police officers while covering the gubernatorial campaign of Republican candidate Ed Gillespie.
Mike Stark, a reporter and videographer with Shareblue Media, a left-leaning website, was filming the Gillespie campaign bus as it approached the Annandale parade in the city of the same name.
In the video, Stark can be seen talking to an officer with the Mason District Police. The officer attempts to remove Stark from the area where he is filming–demanding that the reporter move back away from the Gillespie campaign bus. At this point, Stark is some 20 yards away from the bus.
Stark and the officer exchange words, but it’s mostly the officer’s voice audible in the video. He repeatedly tells Stark to get out of the road and to get onto the sidewalk. The officer waves his hands towards Stark, forcing him backwards.
Eventually, another officer arrives with a woman allegedly affiliated with the Gillespie campaign. According to Shareblue’s original reporting, the woman had voiced concerns about Stark’s attendance at a Gillespie campaign event the night before.
The two officers apparently make it clear to Stark that he will not be allowed to ask Gillespie questions at the parade. At this point, Stark allegedly curses. The second officer tells Stark something about cursing again. Then, Stark says, “Fuck this.”
The officers then arrest him.
In the video, Stark is shoved against a fence before being swept off the ground. His face is slammed into the ground. The officers demand that Stark give them his hand. Stark explains that he can’t do so because their weight is on top of him and he has no leverage with which to retrieve his hand. The officers demand his arm again, louder this time, jamming their bodies on top of his all the while.
Four more officers arrive and dogpile the reporter. His face is repeatedly pushed into the sidewalk as he pleads with the police to ease up so that he can give them his hand. He screams and screams. Finally, some of the cops let up and Stark is rolled over onto his side.
As he’s arrested, the officers cite County Code 511, which the police explain is Fairfax County’s local prohibition against swearing.
Stark was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
This is not the first time Stark has suffered violence while covering Virginia politics. In 2006, while posing a series of badgering questions to Republican Senator George Allen, Stark was allegedly assaulted by three of the GOP senator’s campaign aides.
A video of that altercation immediately went viral. Allen ultimately lost his re-election bid.
LawNewz reached out to the Mason District Police for comment. No response was forthcoming at the time of publication.
Editor’s note: This post was updated to add additional background on Mr. Stark.
[image via screengrab]