ADN reporter allegedly slapped by legislator in a stairwell

The Alaska state capitol building in Juneau. (Public Domain photo)

The Alaska Dispatch News is reporting one of its reporters was slapped by a state senator.

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According to an article put up Wednesday afternoon, the event happened Tuesday in Juneau. Mat-Su Republican Sen. David Wilson is alleged to have lightly hit legislative reporter Nathaniel Herz in a stairwell at the capital.

Herz recently reported on legislation the freshman senator from Wasilla had introduced, SB90. According to the ADN article, Herz had his iPhone out recording audio when he approached Wilson to ask how he received the piece.

“What do you think? Was that reasonable?” Herz can be heard asking in an audio file posted online.

“Reasonable?” Wilson asks back.

In the recording, Wilson takes a long pause after being asked if he thought the article was fair. And then comes a loud slapping sound.

“There we go,” said a voice, presumably Wilson’s, ahead of the sound of footsteps.

“He slapped me,” Herz said in the recording. “That was interesting.”

Herz wasn’t hurt in the incident, but did file a report with the Juneau Police Department. Reached by phone, he declined to comment, pointing toward the paper’s own coverage of the incident.

“It’s not OK for a legislator to strike anyone,” ADN news editor David Hulen told the paper.

On Wednesday afternoon, Wilson’s office declined to comment on what happened. Senate Majority spokesperson Daniel McDonald wrote in an email that the “Senate expects professional conduct” from all it’s members, and would not comment further until all the facts in the situation are understood.

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