Reporter: I Approached FCC Official, Was Pinned to Wall

Another journalist has been manhandled by security while trying to ask a public official questions.

According to the National Press Club, a reporter for CQ Roll Call was restrained by FCC guards and required to leave after he tried to ask questions of Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

Donnelly says he was trying to question FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly after O'Rielly left a podium, which is a standard journalistic practice.

During the altercation, Donnelly said guards asked him why he didn't ask his question during the formal news conference. The letter asks that PAI include, at a minimum, a detailed description of the incident, an explanation of "any inappropriate physical contact, aggression, or threats" against DONNELLY, an explanation of any potential misconduct or wrongdoing by the security force, a description of FCC security policies for public events, including but not limited to speaking events featuring an FCC Commissioner; and assurance that such an incident won't happen again.

"I could not have been less threatening or more polite", Donnelly said in a statement. The FCC plans to take public comments for three months before issuing a final decision.

The West Virginia arrest was one of the incidents referenced by Hassan and Udall in an attachment to their letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

"We apologized to Mr. Donnelly a few times and let him know that the FCC was on heightened alert today based on several threats", said Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman said. This is at least the second time a reporter has been targeted by security for asking questions at a public meeting in a public building in the two weeks. O'RIELLY has since apologized to DONNELLY and said that he did not see anyone put a hand on the reporter. "And then - as if I committed a crime - they forced me to leave the building".

The press club's account of the incident identified one of the guards as Frederick Bucher, who was also accused last summer of confiscating a reporter's press credentials after the reporter talked to a protester at an FCC meeting.

The Trump administration has a rocky relationship with the press. Officials who are fielding the questions don't have to answer.

Throughout the FCC meeting, the security guards had shadowed Donnelly as if he were a security threat, he said, even though he continuously displayed his congressional press pass and held a tape recorder and notepad.

Bucher did not respond to an email request for comment on Friday.

Donnelly said he appreciated the FCC's apology and hoped it leads to changes in how reporters and the public are treated. "Particularly when we're at our place of business and doing the public's work, it shouldn't surprise us when the press asks us questions".

"They had been kind of shadowing me all day, which was weird", he said. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Tom Udall of New Mexico.

  • Zachary Reyes