June 14th, 2010
12:17 PM ET
5 years ago

Congressman involved in on-camera confrontation

 Rep. Bob Etheridge is shown in a video, posted online, getting into a physical confrontation with two young men.
Rep. Bob Etheridge is shown in a video, posted online, getting into a physical confrontation with two young men.

(CNN) – Rep. Bob Etheridge is facing questions Monday after a video was posted online showing the North Carolina Democrat getting into a physical confrontation with two young men who eventually identified themselves as students and asked the congressman whether he "fully supports the Obama agenda."

"Who are you?" a clearly frustrated Etheridge replies when the two men approached Etheridge with a camera on a Washington street. When the purported students did not answer, Etheridge is seen slapping the camera out of one of the individual's hands.

Later in the video, which has clearly been edited, Etheridge is seen grabbing the wrist of one of the men and again repeatedly asking, "Who are you?...Tell me who you are."

"We are just here for a project," one replied. "We are just students, that's all we are."

In the video, currently posted on the website of Andrew Brietbart - a conservative commentator and online news aggregator - the students faces are obscured and they never fully identify themselves or their affiliation.

"I have a right to know who you are," Etheridge responded, still firmly gripping the man's wrist. The Democrat then briefly grabbed the individual's neck before letting him go.

Etheridge has represented North Carolina's second congressional district - located in the central part of the state – since 1997. He was reelected in 2007 with 67 percent of the vote.

Update at 12:55 p.m. ET: Ethridge apologizes


Filed under: Bob Etheridge • Popular Posts
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Why are no Democratic leaders or Liberal News networks asking this violent criminal to resign? Oh that's right. Because he is a Democrat! That's why. The indecent tells so much about Liberals!

    June 14, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Hope E. Changey

    Another example of the party of tolerance on display.

    June 14, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Dave

    This is an unthinkable response by a politician. Etheridge has clearly lost what it means to be a servant of the people. If he has in sincerity left, he should resign.

    June 14, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. John

    Why in the world does CNN and other media allow the HEAVILY EDITED tapes to be shown on air? They already proved the Acorn tapes to be scandalously lying and that they weren't even dressed as a pimp and prostitute as they claimed. Who knows what these kids did to the Congressman in the edited segments. You should NEVER run unedited tapes. Give the WHOLE truth or go home–better yet go learn what journalism means...

    June 14, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. mark

    Horribly biased write-up. The unedited version is very easy to find and any halfwit journalist could find it quickly. It shows that nothing was removed. It is not against the law to withhold your name(LEO expection). It is against the law to assault someone.

    June 14, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Bill in CA.

    I think the congressman doth protest a bit too much...skin a little thin there Bobby???

    June 14, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Iron Pol

    ASMA, nice red herring. So what if the kids were sent to "trap" the Congressman. I'll even stipulate that as fact. I would guess they were there with an agenda. Does that make the Congressman's actions legal? No, it doesn't. In fact, as a Congressman I expect him to have thicker skin than that.

    Let's turn this around. Let's say the kids were actually from a far left organization wanting to make sure that the Congressman is fully on board with the agenda of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. Instead of seeing them as conservative plants, what if they are there to find out if Etheridge is fully supportive of that agenda.

    Their goals and their politics are irrelevant. The Congressman grabbed one of them by the wrist (unlawful detention), took a swing at and apparently hit the camera (assault), and grabbed him by the neck. I'm guessing these are adults. If so, these are mostly misdemeanors. If the young man is a minor, they may be felonies.

    June 14, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Whitt

    This is why I don't think I'd ever want to be a Congressmen, not these days anyway. You lose your freedom to react to situations like a normal human being.

    June 14, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. scrubjay

    The student was passive the entire time. That is not a 'physical confrontation'. There was violence from only one person, Etheridge. Funny how you manage to write this article as a whitewash of Etheridge's aggressive behavior.

    June 14, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    While I am not privy to all the particulars beyond what was posted on the Internet, the event does not constitute a "felonious assault" as claimed by some readers. Now I am not defending or accusing anyone but it does appear that the Congressman over reacted. It also appears that he had reason to suspect some type of a "Set-Up". That having been said, I think both sides share some of the responsibility for this incident.

    June 14, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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