State Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, said Friday that he personally apologized to the reporter that he confronted two days earlier in the state Legislative Building in Raleigh.
Lowe said in a statement that Joe Killian, an investigative reporter for the left-leaning N.C. Policy Watch, accepted his apology.
On Wednesday, Killian said he was covering the aftermath of the N.C. House vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget when he heard screaming from behind a closed door, followed by a shout for police assistance.
Killian said he saw Lowe leaving the room with State Sens. Floyd McKissick Jr., D-Durham, and Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake. N.C. Policy Watch reported that Lowe approached Killian when the reporter began filming with his phone.
Killian posted video footage of the incident to YouTube. In it, Lowe can be heard asking, “What are you doing with your camera?”
“I’m a journalist,” Killian said before Lowe grabbed at his hand to snatch his phone, N.C. Policy Watch reported.
Lowe is the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
After a brief struggle, Killian said, Lowe threw the phone across the room and walked away.
Details about who may have been involved in the closed-door screaming and the call for police help were not immediately available.
Chief Martin Brock of the N.C. General Assembly Police Department couldn’t be reached Friday to comment about the matter.
“This week after a very disappointing vote, I was involved in a very unfortunate incident,” Lowe said. “It was an incident of my own making and for which I am very sorry.
“The incident involved a member of the press, Mr. Joe Killian, who at the time was engaged in the legal and lawful business of the press,” Lowe said. “I truly believe in a free press and commend all journalists for the work they do each day. I have reached out to Mr. Killian and offered my sincere apology.”
Lowe said he also apologized to his colleagues in the N.C. General Assembly and to his constituents in Forsyth County.
Rob Schofield, the project director of N. C. Policy Watch also attended the meeting with Lowe and Killian.
After Lowe publicly released his statement about the matter, Schofield said, “the senator’s statement is accurate and speaks for itself and the matter is resolved.”
Killian didn’t press charges against Lowe for his actions, Schofield said.
After Wednesday’s incident, Schofield was quoted in a N.C. Policy Watch’s article, saying, “Sen. Lowe’s unprovoked actions this morning targeted a working journalist just doing his job. They were outrageous, unacceptable and sadly indicative of a trend we’ve seen from an alarming number of public officials.”
Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue also criticized Lowe for his actions toward Killian.
Leslie Rudd, a spokeswoman for Blue, declined to comment about Lowe’s statement on Friday.
“Sen. Lowe statement stands on its own, and nothing more needs to be said,” Rudd said.