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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Boyd-Lawson spat over camera 'attack'



It's going to be a long, hot summer on the campaign trail ...

Congressman Allen Boyd's campaign has asked Tallahassee police to investigate an incident this morning in which Democratic primary rival Al Lawson allegedly "ripped" a camera from a Boyd staffer's hand and would not give it back.

"State Senator Al Lawson this morning attacked a Boyd for Congress campaign staffer outside a Lawson for Congress campaign rally made open to the public by Senator Lawson," the Boyd campaign said in a news release.

"I did not attack him. It's dirty politics," Lawson said, adding the meeting was for volunteers to gather before a parade in Monticello, where Boyd lives.

Lawson said the campaign worker was on private property and was asked to leave. He said he took the camera to give it to Boyd. "I don't mind if he's in the street but come in the campaign office, he's asking for trouble," Lawson said. "They're trying to instigate incidents. That's how they do things up in Washington."

Boyd Boyd's campaign issued a news release and called reporters to highlight the incident, saying it showed Lawson did not have the temperament to serve in office and that his behavior was "outrageous and completely unacceptable." The campaign said Lawson had posted messages about the meeting on his Facebook account.

"Lawson confronted a Boyd for Congress research assistant, Ralph Mason, upon arriving to the event and ripped the camera out of Mason’s hands. Lawson repeatedly refused to return the Boyd for Congress property upon request. It is unknown at this time if Lawson has deleted the evidence. The camera was filming at the time of the attack. The incident is currently under investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department."

Lawson Lawson told the Buzz he saw Boyd at the parade. "I said, 'You really don't need to do that. They might do that up in Washington but they don't do it here. We can just deal with the issues.' " Lawson said the camera was later returned to Boyd's son.

Lawson said he'd welcome a police investigation and that he'd press for harassment charges.

The staffer fits the description of a "tracker," paid operatives who follow opponents around and record them.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:43am]


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