After Herman Cain exited a restaurant in Coral Springs, Florida on Wednesday a journalist from CBS was struck by a man later identified as a plainclothes police officer. The two then go into an argument filmed by NBC News.
PALM BAY, FLORIDA -- Herman Cain’s surge in popularity has led to an increased security presence on the campaign trail and several reported run-ins with press, the most recent of which happened yesterday at two campaign stops in South Florida.
Cain first stopped at Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, Miami, where he was swarmed by at least fifteen TV cameras from local and national outlets. After a speech outside, Cain went into the restaurant’s bakery area to shake hands with patrons, as the crush of media squeezed through a tiny single door and cameramen jockeyed for the best shot, occasionally blocked by one of the three bodyguards surrounding Cain.
As the jostling got particularly pitched, one reporter, ABC's Susan Archer, shouted for all the shoving to stop. “Hey! Hey! Hey! Stop it! Stop it! Right now! Everybody chill out! Stop pushing!”
Logistics were equally tight, and the mood equally tense at the second event of the day, a rally outside Wings Plus restaurant in Coral Springs. After the event Cain entered the restaurant, crammed with bodies, to shake hands with supporters.
While he still had a few security guards with him, they did not seem to be enough to hold back the crowds so Cain could make his way through the restaurant, as a few employees from Wings Plus (identified by their “Wings Plus” polo shirts) began asking people to move out of the way. “Make a hole!” one employee yelled to the crowd at one point.
But it was outside the event where the Cain security detail had its most heated encounter with a journalist that day.
As reporters ran outside to cover Cain’s exit from the restaurant and walk to his bus, one journalist, Lindsey Boerma of CBS, was struck by a man who was later revealed as a plainclothes police officer. Boerma said the officer, identified by the Coral Springs police department as Sgt. William Reid, stuck his arm out and clotheslined her.
The two got into an argument after the encounter which was filmed by NBC News.
Reid: you hurt my arm, actually. What's your name?
Boerma: Are you kidding me?
Reid: No I'll need your name because you actually hurt my arm when you ran into it.
Boerma: You stabbed it out in front of me, are you kidding?
Reid: I’ll need your information.
Reid: Are you serious?
Lindsey: I’m trying to do a job here.
Reid: You actually hurt my arm when you ran into my arm. Now she’s gotta give me her information.
Boerma: You jabbed your arm out at me!
Reid: You ran into me!
Boerma: Because you stuck your arm out at me twice!
Reid: My arm was there! My arm was there!
Boerma: You should apologize to me.
Reid: You should apologize to me for hurting my arm. You’re not going to apologize to me? That’s not very nice. That’s not very nice.
At this point, Reid approached NBC’s camera, which has caught the encounter on tape. Reid took out his cell phone and said he was filming NBC. “I’ll film you for a little bit, too,” he said. When asked whom he was working for, Reid said, “I’m an independent reporter.” (It was not until after the Cain bus had left the event site that police officers revealed he was an undercover police officer).
According to CBS News, three members of Herman Cain’s campaign team later apologized to Boerma for the incident. Cain spokesman JD Gordon told NBC News that the encounter was “preventable” and that the Cain campaign is “looking into the incidents to prevent anything like this from happening again.”
The Coral Springs police department later said that the Cain campaign had hired four city police officers to protect him at the event. Twelve other officers were dispatched to the scene on city time to help “keep the peace,” according to police at the event.
These are not the first incidents reported involving altercations between Cain’s security apparatus and the media. The New York Times reported a brush-up between a bodyguard and a female reporter at an event in Michigan on Nov. 10th, and a Washington Post reporter detailed an encounter with a guard in Iowa on Nov. 15th.
NBC's Andrew Rafferty contributed reporting.