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APD report: Drop Zone couldn't identify alleged 'assault' victim

Patti Epler

The security guard who handcuffed and detained Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a Joe Miller campaign event says he did so after Hopfinger pushed someone into a hallway locker.

But an Anchorage police report on the incident includes interviews with several bystanders including other security guards who say they didn't see that happen, although one guard said he "heard it."

Police asked William Fulton, the Drop Zone Security owner and guard who detained Hopfinger, to get the person who was pushed so they could take a statement, but Fulton could never find him, the report said.

Hopfinger has said he pushed Fulton after Fulton "chest bumped" him to keep him from asking Miller questions about Miller's employment at the Fairbanks North Star Borough and whether the candidate had been disciplined for using public computers to carry out political activity.

Fulton has insisted he was not the one pushed, and that it was another person who was in the hallway at the time.

The witnesses -- three security guards and another man -- agreed that Hopfinger was trying to ask Miller questions, a camera held close to Miller's face, and that when Miller turned and walked away the guards prevented Hopfinger from walking after him. Hopfinger was told he was trespassing and was handcuffed when he didn't immediately leave.

Sgt. Mark Rein wrote in the police report that Fulton initially asked that Hopfinger be arrested for trespassing but that Rein "saw several issues with the arrest" and declined to do that.

"Fulton told me that he needed me to complete the arrest for his insurance," Rein wrote. "I told him that I would not be taking action based on insurance.

"Fulton then said that he wanted to make an arrest for assault because Hopfinger pushed a man into a locker. I asked him to let me talk to this person. Fulton said that he didn't know who it was, but that he would find him. I gave Fulton 10 minutes to find the unknown assault victim, but none was forthcoming."

Police forwarded the report to the municipal prosecutor's office who decided no charges would be filed against anyone -- Hopfinger or any of the security guards.

Contact Patti Epler at patti(at)alaskadispatch.com.