U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Broadcast cameraman robbed at gunpoint in Berkeley

Incident Details

October 26, 2020 - Update

Gunman who robbed camera operator sentenced to jail, probation

The man who robbed a broadcast camera operator at gunpoint in Berkeley, California, was sentenced on Oct. 26, 2020, to nine months in jail and five years of probation, an Alameda County Superior Court clerk told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

In August 2020, Jimmy M. Ray approached an unidentified camera operator loading a camera into a news vehicle in a synagogue parking lot, KPIX-TV reported. Ray pointed a gun at the journalist, who put the camera on the ground. Ray picked it up and ran away.

Ray was arrested a month later and convicted of robbery. He was credited 82 days in jail at the time of his sentence.

August 10, 2020

According to a local news report, an unidentified broadcast cameraman was robbed at gunpoint while loading gear into a news vehicle in Berkeley, California, on Aug. 10, 2020.

CBS affiliate KPIX 5 reported that the incident took place outside Congregation Netivot Shalom. In security camera footage time-stamped 5:01 p.m. and published by KPIX, an individual can be seen approaching the journalist as he loads a camera into a news vehicle. After the individual draws a gun and points it at the journalist, the journalist attempts to hand the camera off before placing it on the ground. The individual then picks it up and runs away.

According to KPIX, the camera was valued at $25,000. The Tracker was unable to verify the identity of the journalist or station.

On Sept. 10, Berkeley police arrested a man identified as Jimmy Ray, having found items in his home that connected him to the robbery, according to a department news release. It is unclear whether the camera itself was found and, if so, in what condition it was in.

According to the news release, Ray was charged the following day on several counts, including robbery.

When contacted for comment, the Berkeley Police Department was unable to provide further details about the condition of the camera or the cameraman's identity.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].