Tony Hopfinger, Former Weekly Reporter, Gets Cuffed by Alaska Tea Partier's Goons (Updated)

Update: As usual, the coverup is always worse than the act: The story Tony Hopfinger was after, resulting in his headline-making detention by Joe Miller's goons, has led to the court-ordered release of documents confirming Miller lied to his former employer, leading to even bigger headlines.

What did a nice guy like ex-Seattle Weekly writer Tony Hopfinger do to get handcuffed and arrested by a security detail for Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller? For that matter, why does a senate candidate need security? (Who is out to get him, and why? Doesn't ma grizzly Sarah Palin have his back?)

Surely, Tony's no threat unless you think inquiries are weapons. Miller "somehow believes he shouldn't be questioned about his background," says Alaska Dispatch editor/blogger Hopfinger, a SW scribe four years ago and who has also written for the Seattle Times and other "lamestream media," as the comedic Palin calls anything without Fox in front of it. But pushing for answers is what got the aggressive Hopfinger cuffed (photos) this week.

On Sunday, Hopfinger was detained by security after he tried to ask Miller whether he was disciplined by a local borough government when Miller worked there as a part-time attorney. (Miller on Monday admitted the discipline).

Hopfinger followed Miller through a school hallway, hoping to get an on-the-record explanation, Hopfinger told The Huffington Post. At some point, he said, he found himself "surrounded by a bunch of security guard types and Miller supporters." (Some were active military). Miller never told him to stop asking questions, he said. But his backers did.

I figure I'm at a public school and they are telling me I'm trespassing. And it was just a matter of seconds, I'm challenging this trespass issue and the next thing you know they got me detained and I'm in handcuffs and they put me in another corridor of the building. So for 25 minutes no one even knew where the hell I was...They said [they] were going to call the police and I said, Fine, call the police.

Miller's security honcho William Fulton said that since Miller had rented the space from the school, they had the right to declare anyone in trespass. Hopfinger was "stalking" Miller and posed a security threat, Fulton said. However, a witness who thought Hopfinger may have been rude in his pursuit, said he was no threat.

Hopfinger was released without charges, unharmed - though the same can't be said for Miller's campaign once the reporter handcuffing news spread - ("Tea Bag Militia" was among the more memorable responses). Tony hasn't ruled out legal action, he says, but his preference is to let Miller's actions "speak for themselves."

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