A reporter for the Economist was handcuffed by police officers at Mitt Romney's campaign victory rally during the Michigan primary on Tuesday.
Natasha Loder, a Midwest reporter for the magazine, came into conflict with police at the event in Novi, MI after she tried to hear Romney's victory speech in person, instead of in a press filing center.
Chad Livengood, a reporter at the Lansing bureau of the Detroit News, initially tweeted that she had been arrested for sitting in a doorway at the crowded event, which reporters were being blocked from entering.
Livengood also snapped photos which showed a woman sitting on the floor, surrounded by police. He then clarified his earlier account. He said that he, Loder and other journalists had been blocked by Secret Service officials from entering the ballroom, even though there was space. Loder, he continued, had sat in a doorway in protest and been led away in handcuffs.
Loder told the New York Observer that she and the other reporters had merely been trying to hear Romney's speech unencumbered by a video delay. They went and stood outside the door of the event, which was open, but a security guard told her he would close it. According to Livengood, several reporters began arguing with the guard. The argument attracted police, who placed Loder in handcuffs after she refused to exit. She was then released.
“I just said, ‘Look, I’m sorry, I just wanted to do my job,’” she told the Observer.
Toby Harnden, the U.S. executive editor of the Daily Mail, was also present at the event and tweeted about the incident.
Harnden later told HuffPost that one of the problems at the Romney event was that "many reporters were not given passes to get into the actual event room, including a number of British and other foreign reporters but also Geoff Earle, the New York Post’s Washington bureau chief, and others." Harnden continued:
"Despite there being wide open spaces clearly visible in the press area, the event staff (not from the Romney campaign) on the door would not let any of us in. They then tried to close the doors so we couldn’t even listen to the speech. When the Economist reporter sat down so the doors couldn’t be closed a Novi police officer handcuffed her and she was frog-marched off. The event staff said the Secret Service had told them to close the doors but no agents were present. A Romney press aide who arrived declined to intervene in the handcuffing or to let any reporters into the room or even to keep the doors open. Another Romney aide later arrived and let me into the room as common sense seemed to return."
A Romney spokesperson told HuffPost that the situation was "strictly a police matter."
(h/t Dylan Byers)
CORRECTION: The URL and tags of this story initially said that Loder had been arrested. They have been updated to reflect that she was detained.
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