RAW VIDEO: Tempers flare during Cohen interview - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

RAW VIDEO: Tempers flare during Cohen interview

A U.S. Congressman from Memphis lost his cool during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Tempers flared at Congressman Steve Cohen's home when a press conference ended in a scuffle with one of opponent Nikki Tinker's supporters.

The incident centered around freelance photographer Peter Musurlian, who is in Memphis taping a documentary on the Cohen/Tinker District 9 Congressional race. Musurlian, a descendent of Armenia, is upset with Cohen for voting against a bill that would have recognized the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in the early 1900s as a genocide.

Cohen claims Musurlian has been stalking him for days. 

"We finally had to change our schedule," he said. "Somehow they found out my schedule and they followed me.  And now he's coming into my home."

During Wednesday's press conference at his Midtown home - where Cohen intended to speak out against Tinker's controversial ad campaign - an unwelcome Musurlian showed up. At first Cohen ignored him.  Eventually, however, the two exchanged words. Cohen shoved Musurlian out his front door as Musurlian demanded his tripod.

"Take his tripod around the back and throw it at him," an angry Cohen told one of his aids.

Musurlian said he wants Cohen out of office, and claimed the Congressman has been avoiding him.

"If there's going to be a competitive race where the guy is actively opposed to us, not just neutral, or just kind of keeping quiet dealing with his issues in his community, but picking some obscure issue that he feels safe on, then we're going to make him not feel safe," he said.

Mursulian said he found out where Steve Cohen would be Tuesday night and he followed him around trying to get an interview...but Cohen refused. 
 
"I'd like to see him defeated and if he's not defeated I hope he suffers a little bit from this experience of his," Mursurlian said. 

Mursurlian owns a company that does documentaries for Armenian TV in California. 

I went to Nikki Tinker's headquarters to see if she would comment. 

Tinker did not want to talk on camera.

Cohen's was visibly angry during the incident.

"It's a difficult thing to deal with, but I'm gonna put him out of here," he said. "I'm not gonna have some yahoo from Berndale, California barge into my house."

Musurlian said he supports Tinker because she supports his cause.   The filmmaker said he plans to file a misdemeanor assault charge against Cohen on Thursday.


Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.

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