Mike Stark assaulted by Allen campaign employees.

UVa law student and Virginia political blogger Mike Stark got roughed up by Allen supporters — possibly staff members — and the whole thing was caught on camera. Henry Graff reported for NBC 29 that Stark was trying to talk to Allen during the media Q&A portion of the event here in Charlottesville today when, in Graff’s words:

He wasn’t able to get near the senator as he was tackled by three men wearing Allen stickers, presumed to be staffers. He was pushed and manhandled and ended up on the floor, near windows at the Omni.

The video of the incident certainly seems to confirm NBC 29’s account. Allen observed the entire thing and made no attempt to take control of the situation.

The question, then, is whether the three men who assaulted Stark were paid Allen thugs or just random assholes. Here are screen captures of each of the three men’s faces:

Man #1
Man #2
Man #3

Does anybody recognize any of these three men? Here’s hoping that they’re a) Allen staffers and b) that Allen doesn’t have the common sense to fire them immediately. If so, this would mark the end of his campaign.

5pm Update: The Hook reports that one of the three men was a senior campaign employee.

11/01 Update: The writer of The Hook article informs me that the man that he identified as a campaign employee was not one of the three men shown above.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

44 replies on “Mike Stark assaulted by Allen campaign employees.”

  1. Thank you Allen thugs! So Allen spit on his ex-wife? Seems plausible to me!

    Wow, I suggest next time you ignore such questions…if that is all it takes to hook Allen and his thugs into a fight, I’ll be sure to find his next rally…

    But what difference does it make? In 7 days their boss will be in the unemployment line anyway….

    Thanks Mike!

  2. Wow. I just saw the video on CNN — they aired it for the first time about two minutes ago. It was shown unedited, with full audio, and was probably twice as long as NBC 29’s video. It makes Allen’s guys look even worse. Stark clearly never touched anybody, was calm and obviously not a threat, and the response from the staffers was definitely unprovoked. It all went down in the Omni’s back lobby (or front, depending on how you enter) by the ballrooms. It’s not an area of the hotel that can be closed for private events, so Stark was clearly in the right in being present there and wanting to talk to his senator.

    The anchor made a point of repeating the question that Stark asked: “Did you spit on your first wife?” Ouch.

  3. “Did you spit on your first wife?”

    -Not exactly the stuff of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

  4. Waldo, I was there. I SAW Stark start to throw punches on his way out of the ballroom, as he tried to muscle his way toward George, before he got in view of the cameras.

    Let me clear: STARK provoked this. Your assertion that “this all went down in the back lobby” is just false. Stark started yelling at George inside the ballroom (he was about three feet from me when that happened), threw punches as he was leaving, and was ejected afterwards.

  5. Tom, I can’t write about things that I don’t know about.

    Since I wasn’t there, all that I can do is synthesize the reports of those who were. So far we have several press accounts saying that Stark did nothing more than talk and your account that Stark “threw punches” at unspecified individuals for unspecified reasons. I’m not ignoring that account, but I’d find it easier to factor into the whole picture if it wasn’t counter to every other account.

  6. Tom, did you hear anything else Stark had to say? Did he come across as unbalanced as he sounds?

  7. Seeing as how in politics “truth” and “reality” are subject to interpretation- I like/prefer Waldo’s interpretation of events. I also think it would be even better had NBC 29 mentioned that the shouted question Stark had asked Allen was about his “Divorce Records” and not just “about his wife.” Phrasing it as the former (“Divorce records”) lends weight to the issue where as using the latter (“asking about his wife”) just makes the guy sound like a creep. And as conservatives are always complaining about “media bias” I’m going to take a moment to say/complain that I think Henry Graff’s choice of words demonstrates a clearly conservative media bias in this instance.


  8. Jon, yeah, a total whackjob. My first thought was that something very bad was going to happen (until I saw his hands), then my next thought was that this was a setup by the Webb campaign. They’ve been trying to put George’s divorce into play, and this seemed like a pretty good way of doing it. At that point, I was thinking that the whole thing was pretty despicable.

    My next thought, when I saw the fist go past the back of somebody’s head, was “Wow. He punches like a girl.”

    Waldo, I CAN write about things I saw. The press was pretty much out of the ballroom when Stark got out of control, and the cameras were on the West (Ridge/Macintire) end of the lobby, so they wouldn’t have been able to see what I saw. I can’t — and won’t — speak to what happened after Stark left the ballroom, except that he was still trying to push his way towards George as he left my sight.

  9. Tom,

    You’re saying you saw this guy Stark start to attack people? Throwing punches at them? What did you do about it? Did you call the police? Or attempt to stop Stark? It’s difficult for me to imagine standing idly by while someone is being randomly attacked in a crowd, whether it was Stark getting beat up or doing the attacking himself.

  10. Tom:
    Evidence seems to be against you guys right about now. The video footage that the MSM has been showing doesn’t show the Protestor looking violent or aggressive at all. As a matter of fact, Allen’s people look brutal. Do you have any footage that counters that?

  11. Have there been any other eyewitness reports from people inside the ballroom? It’s not clear to me whether the press has video of what happened in there. Graff claims to have been in the hallway when the incident began.

  12. Waldo, what you failed to mention about the Hook report is that Dan Allen says that he was “slammed into a door” by Stark at exactly the same place (the ballroom door) as I reported the scuffle. No, I don’t know Dan Allen, and certainly haven’t talked to him since I posted my report. So now, you have two sources reporting Stark was getting physical, at the same place, at the same time.

  13. Look, both groups were out of line. My personal hope is that this doesn’t have any effect of the election next week one way or the other. I’m really sick of these stupid gaffes on both sides. Can we PLEASE focus on the issues for the last week?

  14. Waldo, what you failed to mention about the Hook report is that Dan Allen says that he was “slammed into a door” by Stark at exactly the same place (the ballroom door) as I reported the scuffle.

    I didn’t fail to mention it — it didn’t say that when I read it.

  15. Dan Allen’s account doesn’t wash with the video (i.e. he appears to be lying).

    Here’s what I see:
    Stark walks into the room followed by the camera. He is blocked from getting closer to Allen by some Allen supporters. Bald guy gets in Stark’s face tells him to leave. Stark asks the right question “Are you with the hotel?” (i.e. Do you have the legal right to throw me out?). Bald guy answers no, but proceeds to push him anyways. Two Allen supporters bum rush Stark (presumably one is Dan Allen). Stark asks the “spit on your wife” question. Bald guy slams Stark to the floor saying “now you’re getting personal”. Stark looks surprised. Eventually he gets up and walks out of the hotel escorted by Allen staff.

    AlterNet has the full CNN clip.

    According to NLS assault charges are pending.

  16. Can someone please tell me why this is an issue? Apparently Mr. Stark writes on his own website that he has wanted to “Roger and Me” Allen. Which, beyond showing he has little to any class, does not mean he was some innocent “protester” who was simply “attempting to ask Senator Allen” a question, as CNN stated.

    All sides are in the wrong. Stark demeaned the a U.S. Senator by asking a question that was based on pure rumor and hearsay (and would never be allowed in a court of law) and Allen’s people (whether they were staffers or just supporters) clearly went over the line in essentially tackling him to the ground. People I’ve talked to that were present at the Omnin have confirmed that Stark was acting aggressively towards Allen and other people in the room; so obviously when he proceeded to get in Allen’s face and scream an insulting question to him in the presence of his wife, Allen’s people reacted like morons and assaulted the guy.

    The more the media and bloggers highlight this incident the more wing nuts on both sides will attempt the same kind of in-your-face name shouting hoping to provoke a reaction and get coverage on CNN. But spare me the treatment of Stark as some kind of hero; to scream an insulting question to a United States Senator in the presence of his wife reflects enormously on his character.

  17. Waldo, I’d have to disagree with the most embarrassing moment. I think Allen’s Breaks, VA comments has set everything that’s followed in motion. That was the big one. These other incidents have all had a trigger, but Allen’s macaca comment was entirely self-inflicted.

    However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one going around everywhere–in state and out–for at least the next 24 hours. I think you are right though that this was probably a little bit of payback from the earlier incident.

    Btw, is it true that Stark is a former Marine?

  18. PoliticalOpinion–this is an issue
    1. Because there’s compelling video (not a great reason, but this is the TV era);
    2. Because congressmen and their staffs are generally held to a higher standard than the general public.

    It’s not unusual for a congresmen to be heckled–even with vicious personal attacks. It is unusual for a congressman’s staff to slam hecklers into glass doors.

    I agree that Stark could have lobbed a more relevant question, but I don’t believe the Allen campaign staff’s response was justified.

  19. Can someone please tell me why this is an issue? Apparently Mr. Stark writes on his own website that he has wanted to “Roger and Me” Allen.

    Because Sen. Allen tacitly supported (by simply standing there as it happened) the physical assault of somebody who was exercising his freedom of expression. That’s why it’s a moral issue.

    Allen’s staffers beat up a heckler and it was all caught on video. That’s why it’s a PR issue.

    But spare me the treatment of Stark as some kind of hero

    Your wish is…uh…everybody’s command. Nobody has provided him with any such treatment.

  20. Todays event’s demonstrate the “Scratch-N-Sniff” quality of the Allen camp.

    Any friction, releases the odor….

    Just imagine what a good ‘ole hound dog scratch might release?

  21. Boy the maccaca sure has hit the fan hasn’t it? Man #2 is an Allen staffer too. I won’t tell you his name because I don’t feel like tossing him to the lions but he went to UVA, graduated in or around 2000 and used to work in C-ville radio. He’s a good guy. I’m no Allen supporter by any means but it clearly looks to me in the full video that the guy I know was trying to seperate Stark from Allen and inadvertantly ended up with the guy in a headlock because of the way he moved. It should also be noted that Man #2 was the first one to offer a hand up to Stark and was not at all aggressive in leading him out the door.

    This is all over the Washington news channels. Wonder if it’ll make NBC Nightly News.

  22. Waldo, what you failed to mention about the Hook report is that Dan Allen says that he was “slammed into a door” by Stark at exactly the same place (the ballroom door) as I reported the scuffle.

    Hey, Tom? If punches were thrown at that point, why wouldn’t Dan Allen have mentioned it to The Hook? He chooses to only say that he was “slammed into a door,” which differs from your account that Stark threw “a mis-aimed punch into the crowd” “as he went through the door into the hallway.” Is it possible that you are mistaken in what you saw?

  23. There is a little longer video online at the CNN site:

    That video starts with some staffers pushing the heckler/questioner out through what I presume to be the ballroom door into the lobby where the assault takes place.

    Waldo, I gotta admit; it looks to me like the media is NOT being complete in it’s reporting because it is very clear from the longer video that something physical happened BEFORE the assault in the lobby. At the very least Allen’s staffers/supporters were already pushing Stark out of the ballroom, but there may very well have been an altercation in the ballroom before that.

    On the other hand, I find it extremely weird that if this guy was already physical with Allen or his staff, why on earth would they push him out of the ballroom and into the lobby where Senator Allen had already moved? That runs contrary to all protective service practices and common sense. If Allen stepped out of the room, and if Stark was already physical then they should have tried to keep him in the ballroom and away from the senator(s) until police arrived. They did not do that, so my guess is that he’d not been physical and was only very aggressive in his verbal questioning. Aggressive enough to cause them to force him from the room physically?

    I was not there; just expressing a view of the video I am seeing that is not already being examined.

  24. Apparently Mr. Stark writes on his own website that he has wanted to “Roger and Me” Allen.

    And, the problem with this is…? I think the point of “Roger and Me” was to ask embarrassing questions of big shots. People who are usually so surrounded by accolytes and yes-men, that they never hear such questions. Sure, it’s rude. Sure, it’s boorish. Nope, I wouldn’t want anybody asking me questions like that. But, when you’re playing in the big leagues, you ought to be able to handle these situations with grace.

    George Allen failed that test. He, once again, came off looking like a bully (who has his goons to do his dirty work for him). He could have been a better man.

  25. Why wasn’t there a rush to get security or some sort of police officer there? The CNN video is inconclusive too about the origins of the fight and who threw first although it seems as if Stark is on the defensive most of the time.

  26. JPTERP: there’s no such thing as a “former Marine” If Mr. Stark or Mr. Webb or anyone else ever was a Marine, they are Marines.

  27. Quote: there’s no such thing as a “former Marine”

    Not true. I work in a military command staffed by about 50% active duty military, 50% civilian. Many of the civilians (including myself, a “former Naval person”) are retired military, including retired USMC. We have a small active-duty Marine contingent, who this week just sent out invitations to “all Marines and Former Marines” to come participate in the cutting of the cake for the Marine Corps Birthday. The former Marine who occupies the desk next to me affirms he’s a former Marine – particularly since he’s now an Army officer. He seems pretty convinced he’s no longer a Marine, but is verfy proud to call himself a former Marine. One of my colleagues who just retired USMC says he’s also a former Marine. What they all do say that there’s no such thing as is an “ex-Marine.” Small point but important to some of us.

  28. Nice going, Mike. In your own self-righteous way you managed to make George Allen look sympathetic, something his campaign has been struggling to do for the last two months.

    I’m against most things George Allen favors but no candidate should have to put up with being stalked by nut jobs on a mission, be they left or right wing. Mike must not be attending class much at U VA Law or his critical thinking skills would be a bit sharper. If the records of Allen’s divorce are sealed they are by definition not public record.

  29. Nothing says sympathy like watching while supporters (employees?) throw someone to the floor, before he even gets a chance to ask a question. Then again, the rightwingers do like pre-emptive strikes. Just look at Iraq.

  30. Awoken this morning by radio alarm with local yokel ‘news’ guy parroting dem talking points about ‘stalking stark’ incident. Then the first article I found was AP/bob lewis breathlessly reporting about serious-sounding ‘chokehold’ occurrence. Uh-oh! Citizen-journalist. Vet!! Ex-Marine!!! It certainly sounded important. Upon closer look, however, including at the video:

    Apparent known stalker menacingly charges public servant engaged in campaign of ideas, screaming and knocking into several bystanders. When this ‘trained killer’ refuses to cease his attempted assault, he escalates the physical violence with those justifiably trying to remove him. Finally subdued and shown the door, he mutters ‘punk’.

    I think Kerry was wrong and mean-spirited when he maligned our brave troops, stating that servicemembers don’t “make the most of it” (education), don’t “study hard, …do… homework and …make an effort to be smart”. But these demeaning words would seem to apply to Stark.

    Stark’s website gives some clues about his depth of committment to and definition of free speech. There he advises one to “study the terrain carefully before you join the battle”, the final step being the ‘showdown”. We see in the video Stark studying the terrain as he careened through innocents in his attempt to assault Allen. This (one-man) mob rule is what goes for intellectual discourse for liberals.

    It seems that Stark’s only other claim to fame is waving a poster with lurid words on it in front of a live-television camera during family hour. Another example of liberals’ engagement in the realm of ideas. Were those filthy words an ‘illuminative quote” from one of Webb’s porno works? Will Webb have the guts to apologize for these apparent criminal acts of his agent provocateur

  31. Apparent known stalker menacingly charges public servant engaged in campaign of ideas, screaming and knocking into several bystanders. When this ‘trained killer’ refuses to cease his attempted assault, he escalates the physical violence with those justifiably trying to remove him. Finally subdued and shown the door, he mutters ‘punk’.

    Dude, I have got to see this video. It sounds like a great one. Where could I find it?

    Were those filthy words an ‘illuminative quote” from one of Webb’s porno works?

    That is awesome. Please, by all means, keep repeating it.

  32. Were those filthy words an ‘illuminative quote” from one of Webb’s porno works? Will Webb have the guts to apologize for these apparent criminal acts of his agent provocateur


    Contrary to what you and the rest of the right wing thinks, not every Democrat in the Commonwealth is on Webb’s payroll. I myself, lowly volunteer that I am, have never received any money from Mr. Webb. It didn’t stop me from volunteering. If what you say were true, then you would be an employee of Karl Rove or George Allen or Bob McDonnell.

    And if you still think that novelists are who they write about, then I hope you get some reasoning help from someone. Mr Webb’s novels are just that, fiction informed by real-life experiences.

    God I am getting tired of having to repeat this over and over. I agree with Waldo though, when I say keep spewing this nonsense, it works well for Jim Webb.

  33. Wow, MDcraig…do you write for FOX NEWS…you should really look into it, just the right amount of spin!

  34. Headline’s a bit nasty but thank you for asking the question. I stumbled across this thread as I was researching a reply to my cousin talking about this incident.

    In the CNN tape, timestamp 0:22-0:23 Stark pretty clearly bumps into man #3 above who says “you’re going to need to leave, now. Get out the door.” In most jurisdictions, man #3 could file charges for battery. He’d be a complete tool for doing so but a common compromise is to insist that the guy committing the battery (Stark in this case) leave, right then, at that moment (0:25 on the YouTube CNN video I linked). The first subsequent contact after the initial battery is a small hand shove back by man #3 at timestamp 0:26 followed very quickly by the much younger man #2 getting Stark away from the balding, pudgy 50+ man #3 before things went tragic. Had Stark not shouted out his question at timestamp 0:31 and ticked off man #3, he wouldn’t have ended up with his face pressed up against the glass wall.

    So man #3 is a local and isn’t on the staff and behaved unprofessionally. Man #2 did his best to defuse a situation before it degenerated into an all out brawl and it’s a reasonable construction that he was doing his best to behave professionally and properly and just plain missed a hold. As is noted, he’s a staffer, not a security professional.

    What man #1 was doing is just plain unclear.

    Things get unstable, wacky out in the field. Partisans on the left are ignoring the plain meaning of the words man #3 said, that he’s not part of the campaign (or, more charitably, they saw the “massaged” NBC video and not the better, more raw CNN one).

    Once you wrap your head around the fact that maybe these three guys aren’t exactly working together, the big thuggish conspiracy falls apart and you have a leftie bumping the wrong 50 year old middle manager and people trying to douse the incident before it went very bad.

    I still can’t believe this incident was cited by Olberman as evidence of incipient fascism in America.

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