A video shows Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) grabbing a cellphone from the hand of a student who asked a question about Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's voter registration policy. Critics say the controversial policy is a hindrance to black voters.
Meanwhile, the phone recorded their encounter.
Perdue was on the Georgia Tech campus Saturday to campaign for Kemp, who is running for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, the website Law & Crime reported. A student and a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America confronted Perdue about Kemp’s policies.
In a video posted to social media, the student said: “How can you endorse a candidate that...”
Before he finished the question, the senator said, “No, I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that.”
Next, Perdue appears to snatch away his phone, which continues to record them.
“You stole my property,” the student said. “You stole my property. Give me my phone back, senator.”
Perdue is heard saying, “Alright, you wanted a picture? You wanted a picture? I’m gonna give it to you. You wanted a picture?”
After Perdue returns the phone to him, the student said:
That’s U.S. Senator David Perdue. U.S. Senator David Perdue just snatched my phone because he won’t answer a question from one of his constituents. He’s trying to leave. He’s trying to leave because he won’t answer why he’s endorsing a candidate who’s trying to purge people from voting on the basis of their race.
The YDSA chapter of Georgia Tech called Purdue's actions "abhorrent."
"It’s abhorrent that when our members ask their senators about the purging of voters within their state, they respond by stealing their phones, dismissing dissent, and ultimately prove that curbing of democracy is how they make capital stay in power,” the group stated.
According to published reports, more than 53,000 applications were put on hold under Georgia’s controversial “exact match” voter verification policy. Over two-thirds of those affected are African American.