Mount Pleasant, SC (WCSC) - A reporter for the Post and Courier newspaper told police she was assaulted Tuesday night at Katie Arrington’s election night party at the Staybridge Suites in Mount Pleasant, according to a police report.
Caitlin Byrd, a political reporter for the paper, was covering the event when a prayer started on the stage and she was taking notes on a notepad. Someone then came up behind her, “pinched” her shoulder and stated, “have some respect” and then let go, according to the incident report Byrd filed Wednesday afternoon at Mount Pleasant police headquarters.
The person then walked back to her seat halfway across the room, the report stated. Byrd told police the pinch was painful and shocking.
Earlier in the night, the MC for the event had gotten on stage at the event and made comments about “Fake News” and specifically about the Post and Courier’s coverage “against” Arrington.
In a tweet Tuesday night, Byrd quoted the MC as saying, “Do we have any Post and Courier people in the room? Well despite your best efforts, it looks like Katie Arrington won the Isle of Palms tonight...CNN isn’t the only place where you can read fake news."
Byrd told police she felt the pinch wasn’t about not paying attention to the prayer as much as it was brought on by the agitation from the event MC concerning how the Post and Courier had covered Arrington.
The officer stated in the report that Byrd knew the name of the person who pinched her and was going to contact that person to speak with them about the incident.
“This is the first we have heard of an alleged incident and will refrain from comment until the investigation is complete,” Arrington campaign spokesman Michael Mule said in a statement.
Charleston County GOP chairman Larry Kobrovsky said if the allegation are true, there is no place for this in politics or anywhere else.
“To touch anybody, let alone a reporter, they’re doing their job. Whether you like what they’re saying or not, that message should be you leave them alone, respect what their job is,” Kobrovsky said. “We believe in conservatism but don’t advance that by harassing people you disagree with.”
“This is beyond upsetting. Caitlin Byrd is a professional simply doing her job - and she does a great job,” Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan
“Unacceptable,” First District Congressman-elect Joe Cunningham said in a statement on Twitter. "No member of the press should be subjected to this. Caitlin Byrd is a quality journalist who held me and my opponent’s feet to the fire all campaign because that was her job. Divisive rhetoric has real world consequences. We must do better as a society. And soon.”
Live 5 News has reached out to the Post and Courier as well.