Anchorage Daily News photojournalist Loren Holmes was assaulted while reporting a story about political sign vandalism in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 31, 2023.
In an account of the assault on its journalist, the Daily News wrote that the newspaper was covering vandalized or stolen campaign signs ahead of an April 4 municipal election.
Holmes, who did not respond to requests for comment, had made arrangements to meet with someone from Ship Creek Group, a consulting firm working with several candidates, at the site of multiple incidents of vandalism in South Anchorage. When he arrived on March 31, Holmes saw a man who appeared to be tending to the campaign signs and approached him. Holmes said he introduced himself as a Daily News journalist and asked if the man was from Ship Creek Group, to which the man replied yes.
The man then told Holmes that he was in the process of replacing the signs, but said that he didn’t want his picture taken and refused to tell Holmes his name. After Holmes pointed out that they were in a public place, the man responded that if Holmes took his picture he’d take the camera.
When the man then approached Holmes, the photojournalist took out his phone to document the interaction but tripped and fell backward. The man then jumped on top of Holmes, pinned him to the ground and wrestled the phone from his hands.
Holmes told the Daily News he called 911 on his smartwatch and said that he had been the victim of an assault and theft. The man, hearing the call, threw Holmes’ phone and ran. Holmes said he was able to locate his phone in the snow; it was not immediately clear whether it had been damaged.
The Daily News reported that Holmes has an abrasion on his hand most likely from the fall, but that he was otherwise unharmed.
In a tweet following the incident, Holmes wrote, “While the attack felt personal in the moment, sadly it is becoming part of a pattern nationally and globally.”
Shortly after police arrived at the scene, so did the representative from Ship Creek Group, who confirmed that the man who had attacked Holmes was not connected with the group.
The Anchorage Police Department told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that no charges have been filed in connection with the incident.