Reporter: I Approached FCC Official, Was Pinned to Wall
FCC issues apology to John Donnelly of CQ Roll Call
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 10:06 AM CDT
The Federal Communications Commission building in Washington.    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Newser) – A veteran reporter says he was "manhandled" by two security guards at an FCC public hearing Thursday in DC after he attempted to ask a follow-up question. CQ Roll Call senior writer John Donnelly says that plainclothes security detail pinned him against the wall with their backs after he approached FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly to ask him a question, reports Time. The National Press Club issued a statement on the incident, saying Donnelly was shadowed by security throughout the event, even posting outside a bathroom he entered. After cornering Donnelly, the guards inquired why he didn't ask his question during the press conference while O’Rielly was at the podium. Donnelly was then made to leave the building "under implied threat of force."

"I could not have been less threatening or more polite," Donnelly says. "There is no justification for using force in such a situation." The NPC statement notes that while officials don't have to answer, "reporters can ask questions in any area of a public building that is not marked off as restricted to them." The Washington Post adds it's "standard practice" to approach officials after a news conference. The FCC issued an apology to Donnelly, stating the agency was under high alert due to unspecified threats at the time; the meeting covered contentious topics like net neutrality regulations. O’Rielly responded apologetically to tweets from Donnelly about the incident, saying he didn’t recognize him in the hallway or see the guards touch him, and that he was "freezing and starving" at the time and was happy to answer Donnelly’s questions.

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