Donald Trump: Photographer 'choke-slammed' by Secret Service agent at frontrunner's rally

The event in Virginia was interrupted several times by protesters 

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The Independent US

A photographer has said he was placed in a chokehold and thrown to the ground by a Secret Service agent while covering a Donald Trump rally.

Chris Morris, a photographer for Time, said the agent choked him and slammed him to the ground on Monday as he tried to leave a media pen at the event in Virginia where a protest erupted. Video footage shows the photographer on the ground, kicking out at the agent as if to protect himself. Other video shows the photographer cursing the agent prior to the phyiscal altercation, saying: "F**k you."

“I’m not pressing charges,” Mr Morris later told CNN. “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.”

The incident took place at the rally at Radford University. The event was interrupted several times by protesters bearing Black Lives Matters banners.

Last week it was reported that some students planned to protest by bringing books and reading through the rally.

The university sent a note to students last week that read: “As an institution of higher education, we at Radford University must be tolerant of all viewpoints, even those with which we may not agree.”

Mr Trump has repeatedly denounced the media at his campaign events and accused it of treating him unfairly. Last week, he said he wanted to introduce new libel laws that would limit press freedom. 

“We’re going to open up our libel laws so when [newspapers] write purposely negative stories … we can sue them and make lots of money,” he said.

Time said that Mr Morris had kicked at the agent who was trying to restrain him. He also briefly put his hand on the agent’s neck to demonstrate the choke hold the agent had placed on him.

Time said it had contacted the Secret Service to express concerns “about the level and nature of the agent’s response”.

In a statement, the agency said: “The Secret Service is aware of an incident involving an employee of the Secret Service that occurred earlier today in Radford.

“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.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Trump said: “We are not aware of all details surrounding the incident and all future inquiries should be directed to local law enforcement.”