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Villaraigosa port event overshadowed by media shoving incident

Villaraigosa port event overshadowed by media shoving incident

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa just cannot seem to get a break from the press recently.

   Following weeks of incessant press coverage over his personal life, Villaraigosa visited the Port of Los Angeles Friday hoping to get back to being his normally press-friendly self. The event, Villaraigosa's first since the object of his extramarital affair received a two-month suspension from her position at a local Spanish-language television station for conflict of interest, instead made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

   Villaraigosa visited the tightly controlled Yusen Terminal event to help kick off a plan by NYK Lines, retailer Target, and TTSI trucking to invest in a fleet of 100 clean trucks to service the neighboring ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

   Appearing with Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, the two mayors talked about the positive green affects of the plan and gave the plan their blessing.

   Despite the good environmental news, questions for Villaraigosa immediately turned to his recent personal troubles, and after brief comments saying he regretted the distraction it has caused, he headed to his waiting convoy.

   Reporters followed, attempting to continue questioning Villaraigosa, only to held back by port security officers. As the security detail began to allow the reporters to move forward, one of the television reporters sprinted ahead of the leading security officer, running towards the mayor's convoy, which was in a barricaded and restricted area. As the officer caught up to her, he pushed her aside and she ran full speed into the side of cargo container placed at the gate as a barricade. Though obviously not injured, the fallen reporter and other members of the media swarmed the security officer demanding his name and questioning why he pushed the reporter.

   Ironically, by the time the group of media representatives calmed down, the mayor's convoy had left.

   A television crew at the event captured the pushing incident, which wound up dominating local media Friday instead of the actual port event.

   The port later issued a statement expressing 'regret that the incident occurred,' and that the matter involving one of their officers 'was being investigated.'

   The statement explained that port police 'intervened to deny access' when Villaraigosa entered a restricted area and reporters tried to follow.

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