News & Election Videos

August 06, 2008

Cohen shoves Armenian-American cameraman

It’s been a rough 24 hours for Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).

The freshman lawmaker, facing a racially tinged primary battle Thursday, was hit earlier today by an ad that questions his religious convictions. And Wednesday afternoon, he literally hit an Armenian-American photographer who had been trailing him.

In a must-see video provided by WHBQ-TV, Cohen is seen getting up and confronting the cameraman and shoving him out of his house.

"Nikki Tinker is supported by the Armenians, and these are her Armenian photographers who have been harassing me last night and continue to harrass me," Cohen told the group of reporters before the confrontation. "And they should be out of here. They have gotten in my face, and I don't want these people in my house."

More from the Commercial Appeal:

Memphis Police were called to the home of Congressman Steve Cohen today after an argument between Cohen and a Armenian-American cameraman in town from California ended with Cohen physically pushing him out the side door.

Peter Musurlian of Globalist Films in Glendale, Calif., followed a reporter from The Commercial Appeal into Cohen’s Overton Park home, where the Congressman had invited local media to respond to a commercial from Nikki Tinker, his 9th Congressional District opponent in Thursday’s Democratic Primary, that Cohen called “more mudslinging.”

When members of Cohen’s staff realized who the cameraman was – he had followed Cohen around on Tuesday night at National Night Out neighborhood events – they told him he was not invited and asked him to leave.

Musurlian refused, saying he deserved a place in the open press conference, and continued arguing before Cohen got off his couch and angrily told Musurlian to leave, accusing him of trespassing.

Then Cohen said, “You come outside, I’m going to talk to you. I’ll give you an interview.” When Musurlian retreated to the threshold, Cohen put both hands on his arms, forced him from the house and shut the door.

Cohen has been one of the top congressional targets for the Armenian-American community because he opposed legislation that would have condemned Turkey for committing genocide against Armenians during World War I.

Armenian-Americans have given Cohen’s opponent, Nikki Tinker, about $30,000 in campaign donations.