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. Bob

    Are you kidding ASMA? A normal person would either answer the question or just walk on by. It also amazes me that the congressman thinks he has a right to know who they are.

    This guys needs to retire.

    June 14, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Thinker

    I'd like to see the entire tape unedited. The little creep that falsified the ACORN tapes, and tried to bug Mary Laundrieus office is probably their inspiration.

    June 14, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Amazed @ the duplicitousness

    Interesting how vile Democrats can act...but all you will get from these Liberal "defend at all cost" fools is commenta bout ACORN.

    This behaviour is wrong non matter who did it..... but then again not Liberal will even discuss the dispiciable action. They will try to make up some story about how these persons were Tea Partiers. Maybe they were...or maybe they were just young student doing a school project (poly sci perhaps).

    The problem is the young man mentioned "Obama Agenda" therefore the congressmen attacked him. It is simply a Democreat physically attacking a "perceived" Republican for asking a question he deemed out of line.

    June 14, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. BobInIrvine

    No excuse for Etheridge's touching the guys, but perhaps some of the MoveOn.Org types need to accost the Repugnican'ts in the same way and report on that. I'd just expect them to pull out their concealed weapons or launch a tirade of f-bombs.
    Remember, these "college kids" also got caught attempting to wiretap Democrats. Nixon lives on...

    June 14, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. amplifryer

    Just another Obama thug. We should be getting used to it by now.

    June 14, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Bubinski

    Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars directing DHS resources toward watching Tea Party members and returning U.S. military veterans, perhaps Janet Napolitano would better resource DHS resources to watching Democratic Congressional members .... they appear to be far more dangerous to the safety of American citizens.

    June 14, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Steven

    Was it a set-up? Of course it was. It dosn't matter. The Congressman acted foolishly.

    June 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Eric

    If it's only a democrat beating students, then there is nothing to see here, move along, these aren't the droids you're looking for. ;)

    If it were a republican, this would lead the ticker all month long.

    June 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Craig

    That's what happens when you shove a camera in someone's face. He should of broken the kid's hand.

    June 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Jockeyshift

    CNN quote: "...a clearly frustrated Etheridge replies when the two men approached Etheridge with a camera..."

    Didn't see where the students approached Etheridge. Look like they were standing in one place, never moving as the Senator approaches the students.

    Sorry, guess it depends on what your definition of "is" is.

    June 14, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Expat American

    Paul June 14th, 2010 12:45 pm ET
    Typical Democrat strategy – try to intimidate!!! How sad
    -------------------------
    You sound as if you voted for 'values' in 2004; values which proved to be nothing more than using religious bigotry to lie to a nation; while threatening all those who oppose you with treason as justification to commit mass murder.

    That is what is truly sad.

    Be proud of your Republican 'values'.

    June 14, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Why would a man react like this to a simple question? All he had to do was answer yes or no or just keep walking. I would press charges for battery.

    June 14, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. wk

    Nothing coming out of Washington suprises me anymore . Real class act congressman .

    June 14, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Jamie Mank

    This is called assault in the real world. But in CNN's eyes, a Congressmen grabbing someone by the neck is something else.

    Who care if it is Democrat or Republican, this kind of behavior should not be tolerate by anyone, ESPECIALLY a US Congressmen.

    Pull your heads out of the darkness people.. HELLO... A US Congressmen assaulted someone . So sad how this can be accepted by anyone.

    June 14, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. BillC

    If a politician can't defend their position without getting physical they need to go home and stay there. A whole bunch of them are going to get to stay home next year! And that's a good thing!

    June 14, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Bedtime for Obonzo

    I've seen the videos, edited and unedited. That was an assault, and it doesn't matter if Congressman Etheridge was "trapped" or not. If you don't like someone's questions, keep walking. Grabbing a hand, twisting an arm, and then grabbing a neck is assault. Looking forward to the apologists' comments.

    June 14, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Ohio

    Wow! Talk about hitting a nerve. What's the matter, Mister Etheridge? Did the students hit a nerve, dirty dem? Is it shameful to link yourself with Obama? Yeah, I would think so. You're a dirty dumbocrat and I'd crawl back under that rock cuz come November, you and the rest of you slimeballs are out of a job.

    June 14, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. RJH

    Obviously the provocation parts were cut from the video. - not saying what Etheridge did was right, but it looks like he was setup. Personally, I'd would have enjoyed watching a better brawl. Nothing could be more entertaining than watching an old liberal beating the crap out of a couple of right-wingers.

    June 14, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Army Vietnam Vet 66-68

    It is a case of battery, pure and simple...not only did the Congressman grab the wrist of the interviewer, but also later grabbed the interviewer around the neck. There is no threat from the students, who identified themselves as students on a project on the video that I saw. The Congressman is a public figure and could expect to be asked questions by the public from time to time, even on camera.
    He knew he was in the wrong, hence, the apology.

    June 14, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. TheLastBrainLeft

    God bless Andrew Breitbart, exposing liberal hypocrisy, hate and now violence.

    There is no defense for what Etheridge did. No edit job could hide one. If you're a congressman and you hear someone ask you a question, you stop and answer, even if the question is hostile in nature. You do not assault the person!

    June 14, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. FlaSox

    The Democratic Congressman maintains his right to know who these kids are. If they responded they were illegal aliens what charges would the Congressman be brought up on by his own party?

    June 14, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. John

    You people defending him make me sick. I demand that you leave this country, or the next time an assault like this is caught on camera, it will be a lynching of Democratic Congressmen. Leave this country now Leftists, we are about to snap and it will be dangerous for you.

    June 14, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Dan s

    Hey lefties! Isn't this the same tactic used by Michael Moore for his films? What would you hypocrites have said had a Republican congressman had grabbed his wrist or him by the back of the neck. You are all hypocrites and cowards!!

    June 14, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Iron Pol

    First, the reporter is an idiot incapable of even the slightest research. The "video, which has clearly been edited" is only one of two videos. The second video shows a second camera angle, and clearly shows that the two people did nothing wrong. It also validates the time line of the video showing the assault.

    Now, let's just accept that the kids were there to get a reaction out of the Congressman. They phrased their question to get his attention and they made sure they were polite so as to make him look bad. At what point does that justify assault? The Congressman clearly takes a swipe at the gentleman, and quite apparently knocks a camera out of his hands. That's assault.

    Still assuming the people were there to get a rise out of the Congressman, it remains a crime for him to grab and detain the young man. As no law was broken by the guy with the camera, the Congressman has no cause to even attempt to subdue him. And at no point does the Congressman have the authority to demand names and other identifying information. He can ask, but has no legal right to the information.

    The Congressman broke the law. If he has any sense remaining, he'll make a very public apology and a very private settlement.

    June 14, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. Retired Army in San Antonio

    donna June 14th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

    A young man asks one question and he is assaulted by a congressman......this cannot really be true can it ?.....and then I looked at the video a few times. ........wow it is true
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    Just be careful when formulating an opinion based on an edited film clip ;-) .

    Until the entire encounter is released, we have no way of knowing what other 'questions' may have been asked or what other events took place during the encounter.

    June 14, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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