CNN Reporter Not Answering Questions About Timeline On Black Lives Matter Protester at Trump Event

Michael Patrick Leahy

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, who claims that Black Lives Matter agitator Mercutio Southall, Jr. was “shoved, tackled, punched, and kicked” by attendees at the Donald Trump rally in Birmingham on Saturday, is refusing to answer questions from Breitbart News about how he came to be so well positioned to shoot a video of the incident just as it was breaking out.

The incident took place a full 200 yards from the designated “media pen” where all credentialed press were supposed to be during Trump’s speech.

“[A] half-dozen attendees shoved and tackled the protester, a black man, to the ground as he refused to leave the event. At least one man punched the protester and a woman kicked him while he was on the ground,” CNN’s Diamond wrote.

The video Diamond shot of the incident doesn’t appear to show Southall being “tackled, punched, and kicked.” It does show Southall shoving attendees and throwing a punch that fails to connect, and of attendees shoving back.

A spokesperson for the Birmingham Police Department tells Breitbart News Southall is the “number one agitator” in the local Black Lives Matter [BLM] group.

“We’ve already reached out to Mercutio Southall several times. We’re very familiar with Mr. Southall. He’s a part of the BLM group in our city. He’s the number one agitator. He likes to get his point across,” Birmingham Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Lt. Sean Edwards, tells Breitbart News.

Edwards was not at the Trump rally. But he tells Breitbart News that there is no evidence that Mr. Southall was “tackled, punched, and kicked,” as CNN’s Diamond reported.

“The video we saw [taken by CNN]… it’s kind of hard to see all of that detail… kind of hard to see that,” Edwards tells Breitbart News.

Initially, the CNN story with Diamond’s byline contained a 30 second video, an edited version of the longer 1 minute 47 second video, also apparently shot by Diamond, which is now included in subsequent versions of the story.

That longer video shows Southall, in the 6 seconds preceding the beginning of the shorter 30 second clip, raising his hand in a clenched fist.

Seconds later, Southall is on the floor. While it is difficult to determine how he ended up on the floor, the video appears to be consistent with Southall falling to the floor of his own accord, as one commenter on Breitbart’s story about the incident says someone at the event says happened.

Diamond’s own tweets over the past several weeks point at a clear anti-Trump bias. Indeed, they appear to be coming from a Democrat Party operative rather than a CNN reporter assigned to cover Trump’s Presidential campaign in an unbiased manner:

This is the image Trump chooses to tweet a day after a #BlackLivesMatter protester faced violence at his rally — Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 22, 2015

Breitbart News, which covered the Trump rally in Birmingham and is therefore familiar with the press logistics of the event, posed several questions to CNN’s Diamond about his filming of the incident and reporting at the event.

Diamond isn’t responding to these six questions Breitbart News emailed to him:

1. Did you personally shoot the video that showed the protester being removed?

2. If you did, how long before you shot the video did you leave the media pen area? Specifically, looking for the number of minutes prior to the beginning of that video.

3. If you did not, who shot the video and how did you obtain it?

4. Did you have advance notice that the BLM protest would take place at the Trump rally in Birmingham on Saturday?

5. If so, did that advance notice explain why you were positioned near the incident when it took place?

6. How long prior to the beginning of your video were you positioned near the incident?

The timelines of the Trump speech, which Breitbart News filmed in its entirety, raises serious questions as to how Diamond was able to film the video of the incident virtually as it unfolded. The incident occurred approximately 200 yards from the designated media pen area where all reporters were restricted during the speech, according to the Trump campaign ground rules for media access.

The media pen, where Breitbart News was located and filmed, was a fenced off area with two sets of risers and tables and chairs behind the risers within the “pen area” about 200 yards from the Speaker’s podium The incident took place about 50 yards to the right of the Speaker’s podium as seen from the media pen, to the left of Trump as he was speaking.

Protesters start yelling at 1:21 mark of the Breitbart News video immediately below, approximately 1 minute and 19 seconds before the CNN video was shot:

At this exact moment, CNN’s Diamond, according to the Trump campaign’s media ground rules, should have been inside the media pen more than 200 yards and thousands of people away from the incident.

But Diamond won’t tell Breitbart News where he was physically located at this time. He may have been far from the media pen, in the vicinity of the part of the North Exhibition Hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex where the protesters were beginning to shout.

This Breitbart News shot video continues for another 1 minute and six seconds, at which point, the next Breitbart News video begins, as shown below:

At 13 seconds into this second Breitbart News video, which was shot from the second riser of the media pen, CNN’s Diamond apparently begins shooting the 1 minute and 47 seconds video that is currently seen in his article while standing at a point 200 yards distant from the media pen.

At the 0:34 mark of the second Breitbart News video, Trump says “get him the hell out of here, will you please,” the same point in the speech which occurs at the 0:21 second mark of in the longer (1 minute and 47 seconds) version of the  CNN video, seen here below:

There was a very large crowd of 10,000 at the event, and to get from the media pen to the position where the CNN video was shot from, on the far side of where the incident took place would have taken someone briskly walking about 90 seconds to 2 minutes.

Diamond did not respond to Breitbart’s questions whether he had advance notice of the protest and left the media pen before the protesters started shouting  in order to be ready to shoot video of the incident as it unfolded.

CNN has already been forced to discipline another young reporter for clear anti-GOP bias. On November 19, CNN reporter Elise Labott, who was covering the Syrian refugee story, tweeted:

CNN subsequently suspended Labott for two weeks.

Diamond, a 2014 graduate of George Washington University, was hired by CNN in September 2014 and was subsequently assigned to cover the Trump campaign. Previously, he was editor of the George Washington University Hatchet.