Cases resolved in theft of KNTV news crew’s camera
One of the two men who robbed a KNTV news crew in San Francisco in 2021 was sent to a diversion program in June 2022, while charges against the other were dismissed in August 2021, a representative of the San Francisco District Attorney told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker via email.
The news crew was filming in February 2021 near the city’s I-80 Bay Bridge ramp when they were stopped by two men who claimed to be carrying firearms under their clothing and demanded that the crew hand over their camera equipment. The crew complied and the men fled.
Ronell E. Johnson and Romell J. Boyland were found with the camera and arrested for the robbery, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The camera was returned to the news crew.
A San Francisco TV crew was robbed of its video camera while reporting on a story near the city’s I-80 Bay Bridge ramp, the San Francisco Police Department confirmed.
The attack happened around 6:50 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2021, when the news crew was filming in the South of Market neighborhood, according to a report from San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX. KPIX said the journalists were from a local NBC station, NBC Bay Area. The report said the journalists were stopped by two men who jumped out of a four-door Lexus; the men claimed to be carrying firearms under their clothing and demanded the journalists hand over their camera equipment.
“The victims surrendered the news camera, and the suspects fled the scene in the Lexus, traveling eastbound on I-80. The Lexus was driven by another suspect that remained in the car. The victims were not injured,” a spokesman for San Francisco police said.
Moments later the journalists flagged down San Francisco police officers passing on their motorbikes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper said the journalists gave police a license plate number and descriptions of the robbers.
San Francisco police confirmed details of the robbery to the Tracker and said they have arrested two men who were found in possession of the camera. Police said they returned the camera, a Panasonic AJ-PX, to the news crew.
NBC Bay Area did not respond to a Tracker request for comment.
There have been two other recent attacks on TV news crews in San Francisco, with attempts to steal camera equipment, one in March and the other in April.
San Francisco police said in a statement that there was nothing to show this attack was connected to an attack on another TV news crew in San Francisco in Golden Gate Park on April 7 : “We do not have information to suggest that the victims were targeted because of their status as journalists. The information suggests that the victims were targeted because of the high-dollar value of their electronic equipment.”