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Guard chokeslams photographer at Trump rally in Virginia

A photographer was slammed down on a table by someone who appears to be a security guard during a Donald Trump rally Monday in Virginia.

A short video of the encounter was posted on Twitter by Independent Journal reporter Joe Perticone and other reporters.

{mosads}The photographer, Time magazine’s Christopher Morris, ended up on the ground, kicking out his legs at a man in a gray suit who was trying to hold him. It was not immediately clear who the man in the gray suit was working for.

A video of the incident posted on Instagram showed the guard clearly grabbing Morris by the neck before slamming him down on a table. The video has now been taken down.

The photographer, while getting to his feet, points at his throat and appears to say, “you grabbed me by the throat.”

Once on his feet, he then reaches out to the man’s throat before being grabbed by a third man around the arm.

As the man with the camera is pulled away, he can be heard saying, “he grabbed me by the neck.” 

Trump’s campaign issued a statement indicating that the security agent involved in the incident was with the U.S. Secret Service (USSS).

“There was an incident involving a photographer and a USSS agent at today’s Radford University Trump rally,” wrote spokeswoman Hope Hicks in an email to The Hill. “We are not aware of all details surrounding the incident and all future inquiries should be directed to local law enforcement. “

The Secret Service also released a statement late Monday afternoon. 

“The Secret Service is aware of an incident involving an employee of the Secret Service that occurred earlier today in Radford, VA. At this time, 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.”

In an afternoon blog post, Time confirmed that Morris was the photographer involved and explained, step by step, what the magazine believes happened. 

“TIME has contacted the U.S. Secret Service to express concerns about the level and nature of the agent’s response. Morris has also expressed remorse for his part in escalating the confrontation,” according to the post.

A spokesman said in the statement, “We are relieved that Chris is feeling OK, and we expect him to be back at work soon.”

The reporter, Perticone, published additional video on Twitter he says occurred moments before the interaction between the security guard and Morris “got physical.”

The guard says to Morris, “Get in the pen.” Morris is then heard to say, “F— you.”

Also shown in Perticone’s second video are African-American protesters walking past the press pen chanting and shaking their fists. 

WSET reporter Annie Anderson posted a third video in which she says she interviewed Morris as he was being escorted out of the Trump rally.

In the video, Morris says, “I never punched him. I never touched him. At the very end I tried to show … the press lead what he did to me. And I said he choked me so I put my hand on him. And that’s when I was arrested.”

The rally on Monday included several rounds of protests, including some reportedly made by Black Lives Matter activists.  

At one point, as protesters were being ejected, Trump complained that a woman had interrupted him in the middle of one of his punch lines.

“Are you from Mexico?” the White House hopeful called out to the protester.

Protesters have become common at Trump events, with activists often denouncing the Republican’s rhetoric toward minorities. Black Lives Matter activists — a group whose primary focus is the police treatment of African-Americans — have shown up at previous Trump events.

“You’re going to hear it once,” Trump told the protesters on Monday. “All lives matter.”

Updated at 4:39 p.m.

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