Law student and Allen staffers tussle at Omni
Things got physical this morning at a rally for Senator George Allen when first-year UVA law student Mike Stark and Allen staffers got into an altercation in the lobby of Charlottesville's Omni Hotel.
As Allen prepared to answer questions from the media, Stark got within inches of Allen and Senator Elizabeth Dole shouting, "Did you abuse your first wife? Did you ever spit on your first wife?"
That's when Allen staffer Dan Allen (no relation to the senator) got between the two and began to push Stark away. When Stark resisted and continued to shout, another Allen supporter put Stark in a headlock before wrestling him to the ground. After subduing Stark, the men let him up and forced him out the front door of the Omni. The entire incident played out in front of several photographers and television cameras.
Stark tells the Hook that he plans to press charges. "There were plenty of video cameras there, and we'll have to take the evidence from there," he says. "The next step for me is to go to the police station today or tomorrow."
He also says that he never intended to physically harm Senator Allen, and that he merely wanted his questions answered. "My hands never came above pocket level except one time to keep from falling," says Stark. "I asked if he had spit or otherwise abused his first wife because he's been attacking Webb on his treatment of women. He thinks he can slide by with sealed divorce records? I gave him a chance today to put that controversy to rest."
Stark confirms that he is the same person who confronted Senator Allen at a Staunton campaign event in August and asked if Allen had ever used "the n-word."
"I don't know who he is," says Senator Allen. "He's just typical of the Webb campaign and their negativity... scurrilous lies."
UPDATE (3:28pm): Allen staffer Dan Allen says that he was merely trying to protect Senators Allen and Dole. "I think that they young man was pretty menacing and aggressive screaming out inappropriate questions," he tells the Hook. "I was quite surprised when the young man slammed me against the door when we were getting Senator Allen out of the ballroom, so I was really concerned."
UPDATE (Nov 2): While Stark may not win any popularity contests for his decorum, one noted blogger, Waynesboro's Chris Graham, blasts his treatment at the hands of the Allen supporters. Meanwhile, the Charlottesville Police Department weighs whether to press charges against those who wrestled Stark to the ground.