PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They are called trackers — usually young photographers hired to record the words of candidates running for public office.
Most candidates just leave them alone, but not Pennsylvania State Sen. Scott Wagner.
“I’m going to confiscate your camera. Remember the trackers I was telling you about. I’m going to confiscate your camera,” Wagner is caught on camera saying.
At a luncheon speech before the York County Estate Planning Council, Sen. Wagner physically confronted the 20-something photographer working for a liberal political group called American Bridge.
Wagner: “You want to take the tripod? I’m taking the camera.”
Photographer: “You can’t take my camera.”
Wagner: “I’m taking it. Watch me take it.”
Wagner, who’s seeking the Republican nomination against Gov. Tom Wolf next year, took the camera to another room to remove the memory card, images captured on the photographer’s cell phone.
When he asked Wagner for his camera back, the photographer says Wagner assaulted him.
Photographer: “Please hand my camera back. It’s my property.”
Wagner: “You’re on private property.”
Photographer: “You’re assaulting me.”
Wagner: “Put that camera away.”
Photographer: “You just assaulted me.”
Wagner: “No, I didn’t assault you.”
Wagner: “Put the camera away. You’re on private property.”
Photographer: “I’m doing it for my own protection because I’m scared right now.”
“He was shaken up by the incident, absolutely,” said Elizabeth Price, a spokesperson with American Bridge. “In our history of tracking nothing like this has never happened before.”
Even though Wagner took the memory card, he did return the camera, which had stored a duplicate copy of the original video.
“It was recorded on both the camera and the memory card,” said Price.
Price says the photographer is a young Pennsylvania voter, but, so far, he is not pressing charges against Wagner.
Local police say they are investigating.
A statement released by Wager’s campaign said of the incident:
“Yesterday a tracker, from a Washington D.C. liberal special interest group funded by dark money and supporting Tom Wolf, lied and trespassed on private property for a speech that I was giving in my role as a Senator. Instead of leaving when he was asked the tracker continued to harass me and the people at the event, and finally I assisted in removing his camera. There are times when there is no choice but to stand up and confront the cheater in the room.
“I requested that club management call local police to assist in removing the trespasser from the premises.
“Let me be crystal clear – Tom Wolf is not going to intimidate me during this campaign. I welcome his attacks and the attacks of the liberal special interests. We need a Governor who is strong enough to stand up for the people of Pennsylvania – and I can assure you that no one will be stronger than me when it comes to putting the everyday lives of Pennsylvania families first.”
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