Report: Al Jazeera Reporter Involved in Violent Confrontation With D.C. Police at Pro-Israel Conference

Jason Howerton
July 26, 2013

An alleged Al Jazeera reporter got into a violent altercation with police after he and another reporter were thrown out of a pro-Israel conference in Washington, D.C., for secretly videotaping at the event, the Washington Free Beacon reports, citing eyewitnesses as sources.

The reporters apparently claimed they were with Al Jazeera, a media outlet that CUFI allegedly denied press credentials due to what it considers to be anti-Israel bias.

The reporters, identified as Matthew Cassel, a photojournalist with Al Jazeera English, and Micah Garen, cofounder of Four Corners Media, were reportedly tossed out of the Christians United for Israel's 2013 Washington Summit when it was discovered that they were secretly filming events closed to the press. Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address and donated $100,000 to CUFI at the conference on Tuesday.

"Cassel left the conference with no issue. However, Garen argued with officers outside of the convention center after they confiscated his video equipment, sources said," according to the Free Beacon.

The Free Beacon also provides an eyewitness account:

"As I approached the convention center, walking south on 9th street, I saw what at first I thought was someone having a psychotic episode," said one conference attendee who witnessed the incident.

"There were four D.C. police officers trying to restrain and subdue a man who was violently trying to break free," the attendee said. "I thought the cops were going to taze him--they certainly would have been justified."

"At one point he broke partially free and lunged at a blue trash can but was dragged off of it," the source continued. "Eventually the police restrained him and escorted him away. I don't know why he thought he was going to win in a fight against four cops. It never works out that way."

A CUFI spokesman would not comment and a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson had no additional details.

When asked by police to hand over his recording equipment for filming where signs barring video recording were clearly visible, Garen allegedly threw his video memory card in the trash, according to the Beacon's source inside CUFI. When police attempted to retrieve it from the trash, Garen reportedly "lunged" towards the garbage can and a "violent skirmish with multiple officers" ensued.

A source who allegedly viewed the video on the memory card told the Free Beacon that the reporter secretly recorded CUFI members and even Israeli military personnel talking and walking to various events. Further, the individual who was recordign the video apparently was hiding the camera under a jacket as he recorded a private CUFI strategy meeting that was being held.

To read the Free Beacon's full report, click here.

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