June 14th, 2010
12:17 PM ET
4 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. RemainCalm

    I would need to see the bits that were edited out before judging the behavior of anybody on camera.

    June 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Christie

    I don't condone his actions, but it's understandable also. Given the recent "expose" attempt by former students in Louisiana, I think if they weren't trying to hide anything, why wouldn't they just give him their credentials? Seems like another gotcha attempt...

    June 14, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. mjm

    When senior citizens attack....

    June 14, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Al

    Why is this thug not arrested? Why is this not on the front page of cnn.com? I'm sure if a republican did this – it would make the headlines. Somebody should have body slammed that punk/thug into the ground.

    June 14, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Brian

    Really? Does it matter who they work for or if they edited the end of the tape? There is no excuse for what he did. It doesn't matter if it was Bill O'Reilly himself doing a smear piece on the guy, he has no right to touch those kids.

    June 14, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Enough Already

    Chances are they are really students and just got swept up in a sensational event. In an effort to protect themselves from rabid and dangerous supporters of the current political regime, they edited the faces to blur them out. Sounds smart to me.

    Even if the video edited out something really provocative said to the congressman, his reaction is wrong and criminal. He is a role model for many people out there that now see this kind of behavior as acceptable. It is time for an example to be made of this behavior and it can't wait until elections.

    June 14, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. VAVoter

    Both sides shut up!!!! Republicans have NO ROOM to talk about "thuggish" behavior. They have been caught trying to trap Democrats on camera, even tresspassing, posing as 'phone technicians' to try to catch Democrats doing or saying something. We have seen so-called 'unclassy' behavior on BOTH sides of the aisles.

    June 14, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. martin

    You can be filmed if you are in public. THere is no expectation of privacy when you are in public.

    June 14, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Barbara

    I live in the state of NC and hope the voters send him into retirement. We have had enough of his politics. This is shameful!! He does not represent the people that elected him to office.

    June 14, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. ApolloScreed

    That Congressman is in deep macaca.

    June 14, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are hiding behind women's skirts because they are cowards or hasn't anybody noticed.

    June 14, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. jaime

    this man should resign now !!!

    June 14, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. Frank

    This is disgusting. Two young men asked a simple question, he could have stopped and humored them with an answer or he could have ignored them and kept walking - but he chose to assault one of them? Is this guy insane? Why isnt this on the front page of CNN? Typical

    June 14, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. malabar

    Most dems see this with eyes wide open. regardless of party affiliation, no public official shud behave this way. but 4 the few hopeless libs, do u now believe Michael Moore is as wrong as u say this student is? all politicians and private citizens shud b held to the same standards. dont cry about them 'getting in his face' unless u believe leftist reporters shud also follow that rule. i 4 one want the left in the face of the right and the right to get in the face of the left. if u cant take it, politics is not 4 u.

    June 14, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    I might not have put my hands on the little jerks, but I wouldn't trust anyone, i don't care how young or old.
    We know what happened to Acorn and the guy got away with a slap on the wrist.
    the repugs will do anything to gain sympathy. Unfortunately, I don't feel sorry for any of them.

    June 14, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Mike

    This congressman needs to be arrested for assault and the media needs to quit making excuss for these people making the victims the criminals. clearly this congressman thinks he is above the law resulting in forc trying to intimidate these kids. If sombody asked me a question and i put my hands on them i would already be in jail. i wouldn't have the media protecting me and callin out the actual victim of my abuse. this is same thing with illegals. they are the victims in the medias eyes not the actual victims of their murders and stealling of tax dollars. this b.s needs to be stopped the media needs to get their crap togather and relate with average americans not their liberal lifestyle!

    June 14, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Richard

    I dont know or care what the kid was doing there. In my state this would be a criminal offense. You cant slap or grab anyone unless you are doing it in self defence. And asking a question or calling you sir does not justify this type of responce from anyone .

    June 14, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. For America

    How was the video edited? Some IT guy was able to maniplulate the congress' arm around the students neck? Whatever? The congressman needs to go to jail, and pray that he has a job in November.

    June 14, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Matt

    He should be arrested. He committed an unprovoked assault on camera. If he was not clearly a low life thug he would resign but he will not because he is better than lowly citizens.

    June 14, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Walter

    Love how the article says the video was "clearly" edited. Like they edited to cover up the fact that they "baited" Etheridge. Short of assaulting him first, there is no excuse for this criminal behavior. Hopefully Etheridge's constituents will think twice before re-electing this thug.

    June 14, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Al-NY,NY

    until I see the entire video, no opinion

    June 14, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. mary jenks

    This congressman is supposed to uphold the constitution and the law. He is in direct violation of both and should be fired and then charged with assault and battery.

    Period.

    June 14, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Jill-IN

    If they had a camera ready in advance, didn't identify themselves in advance, I think the Congressman had a right to know who they were and assess his own safety. How would you know if it is just a camera.

    June 14, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. David Highlender

    I came to try to find this story on CNN thinking “Wow everyone will be outraged that a Congressman acted this way.” – as usual the story is completely buried on the politics page and to my shock people here are siding with the Congressman just because he is Democrat. At what point did it become ok to attack someone just because of a political affiliation? I could care less that this guy is a Dem. A person attacked another human being. An assault is an assault. An assault by a congressman is even more disgusting.

    It just sickens me that some of you can’t see beyond your own politics.

    June 14, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. thor

    This is just politics that is described in their hand book that the Democrats pass out.I think it was hande to them by the union bosses!!

    June 14, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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