Friday, September 21, 2007

GOP Congressman uses violence against CBS TV Reporter

CBS News

CBS 2 Reporter Files Complaint After Scuffle

Mike Flannery Was Shoved By Aide After Rep. Weller Speech

(CBS) JOLIET, Ill. CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery has filed a complaint after he was shoved and sent down a flight of stairs while questioning a congressman Friday, knocking him into a woman who also fell.

The incident happened in Joliet, where Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) was announcing his intention not to run for reelection.

Weller spoke for about 15 to 20 minutes about his accomplishments in his district and in Washington, then he left with a phalanx of people around him, and "with no intention, evidently, of answering questions," Flannery said.

Flannery was pushed by a Weller aide right before he followed Weller into a stairway. The initial contact occurred off-camera. In the video posted on cbs2chicago.com, you can see Flannery stumbing into the view of the camera after being pushed. He is then shoved a second time once inside the doorway, which caused a woman inside the stairwell to fall.

The man who shoved Flannery and another television reporter was identified as John Dusik, an aide to the congressman.

A watchdog group recently declared Weller one of the most corrupt members of Congress due to questions about his financial ethics stemming from land deals in Central America.

"I began to throw out a number of questions regarding his controversial Latin American land deals," and asked if there should be a House Ethics committee investigation, Flannery said.

Weller did not speak, but instead went back down the stairs, still surrounded by a phalanx of aides, Flannery said. At that point, the scene began to turn ugly.

"There's a large man, who begins shoving reporters around, including yours truly. He shoves me one way, then he goes after another reporter with CLTV.… There's an opening in the doorway, and I begin moving through that doorway, and he shoves me down the stairs; he shoves me into a railing on the staircase and also into a woman in on the staircase who was traveling with Weller," Flannery said.

Flannery said the woman turned around and complained to him about being knocked down, and he explained that he had been pushed through the doorway.

Meanwhile, Weller drove away without answering questions, Flannery said.

"I realized that I need to ask the police to look into this, and I indicated to them that we get roughed up like this from time to time, but I don't recall ever being treated this violently; shoved around this violently, to the point where a woman gets knocked down," Flannery said.

Flannery said he later learned an arrest had been made by police officers from Joliet Junior College. The police told Flannery they would make a determination early next week about filing charges.

He said the man who shoved him was identified by others as a Weller staffer, but, "He never said a word to me before during or after his violent actions, nor did he say a word to my colleagues who were similarly mistreated."

"I have had these kinds of encounters with public officials and their staff over the years many times; dozens if not hundreds of times – but never this violent. Never anything as violent as this, and I have not had a third party, specifically a woman, fall to the ground; fall down several stairs as happened in this case," Flannery said, adding that if the assailant was a Weller staffer, "He crossed the line here that I felt was just inappropriate, utterly inappropriate. He went from being a zealous staffer to being a goon."

Adam Harrington, cbs2chicago.com

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JG: Next, the GOP might start using the Seig Heil salute!

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