June 3rd, 2007
10:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Columnist/Author released after being arrested in Spin Room

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN ) – Columnist and author Eric Alterman has been released after being arrested Sunday night inside the debate spin room. He was charged with criminal trespass after police say he refused repeated orders to leave.

Goffstown, N.H. police said Alterman was in the spin room as a guest of the Creative Coalition and went to an area reserved for a private reception for WMUR-TV. Police said he was asked by an executive at the party if he was invited to the private area and was asked to leave. A police officer was called after a verbal altercation ensued. According to police, Alterman was asked seven times to leave and became increasingly loud as he refused. After ignoring a final request, police said he was handcuffed and taken from the building.

Alterman spoke with CNN after being released. He called the arrest a “misunderstanding” and claimed he did not refuse orders to leave.

He told CNN he was waiting in the spin room for the debate to end but there was no place to sit. He claimed he saw an area upstairs and was not stopped when he walked up there. He said he saw a bar area and asked if it was an open bar. Told that it was, he ordered a wine and a water. He then said he was approached by a man and asked if he was invited to the party. Alterman said he asked for the man’s name because he had been treated “brusquely”. He said the man declined to give his name and called for an officer.

Alterman said he “never raised his voice once” and identified himself as a journalist. When he asked for the police officer’s name, the office threatened to arrest him. Alterman said he asked for a supervising officer to come over and tried to explain the situation. He claims he was cut off and acknowledged he may have been argumentative when he said, "could I please finish a sentence here?”

He was booked and released after paying $30. Alterman said he will fight to get the charges dropped.

Alterman writes a column for “The Nation” and writes the “Altercation” blog for Media Matters. He also has authored several books, including WhyWhen Presidents Lie.

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: New Hampshire
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Sasha Constantine,Key West,Florida

    After reading the childish rantings of people like Mike in Colorado and other lowbrows, I'm struck at the limited imagination of these minions who base their rhetoric on hearsay and whatever they could memorize off of the bathroom walls. Being arrested at an event meant for credentialed reporters w/no apparent crime being committed is disgusting and unconstitutional. Anyone who finds glee at the misfortune of another American trying to bring you the truth has issues. It's a sorry individual who isn't apalled that one of their fellow citizens is having his rights stripped from him. He, who is trying to be part of the process that makes sure the right person takes the office of President. Maybe an officer will treat you this way one day. Would you care for the same response from your peers?

    June 7, 2007 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  2. agathena, Victoria, BC, Canada

    So Eric Alterman ends up paying $30. for a free glass of wine with water. Expensive misunderstanding.

    June 8, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. mic East Grinstead U.k.

    A message to the 'common herd' from Olaf Stapledon. I perceived that I was on a little round grain of rock and metal, filmed with water and with air, whirling in sunlight and darkness. and on the skin of that little grain, all the swarms of men, generation by generation had lived in labour and blindness with intermiten lucidity of spirit. And all their history, with all its folk wandering,its empires,its philosophies, its proud sciences, its social revolutions, its increasing hunger for community, was but a flicker in one day in the lives of stars. Starmaker 1937. Unless we begin to think and live as intelligent lifeforms then considering what the future holds for the human race, a most fitting epitaph!.

    August 2, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. violet montgomery

    After watching Hilliary's emotional break this afternoon, I simply go back to a book which I am presently reading – titled 'Hillary"s Scheme ' published in 2003 simply shows to what extent Hillary will go to become President. The Clintons will do or say anyhting to keep them in the process. People ask 'is she genuine' absolutely not – she is a phony. Ask the Clintons to return the dishes, furniture they took from the White House when they moved to New York. Hillary – the 'chickens do come to roost'. Goodbye!!!

    January 7, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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