U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

CBS4 News reporter hit, sprayed with alcohol as she reported in Miami Beach

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 12, 2021
Miami, Florida


Was the journalist targeted?
May 12, 2021

Bobeth Yates, a reporter for CBS4 News in Miami, Florida, was attacked on May 12, 2021, while she was working on a story about rising crime rates in South Beach.

Yates was near Fifth Street and Ocean Drive in South Beach to report on the Miami Beach City Commission passing a resolution to stop alcohol sales past 2 a.m. in the city’s entertainment district as a way to curb unruly behavior, the station reported.

Yates was with photojournalist Ebenezer Mends doing research in the busy nightlife area about 9 p.m. when they started recording a fight in front of them. After Mends started filming, some of the people involved in the fight came over and demanded not to be filmed.

When they started pushing the camera and hitting Mends, Yates said in the report, she tried to get in the way.

“To be honest, I've been reporting for a very long time,” Yates said in the report. “I don't want to date myself, but about 20 years and I've never been attacked like this on a story.”

She said both she and Mends were hit. “The first hit came when we tried to kind of block the camera and I kind of stood in between everything because they started really coming on to Ebenezer and attacking him.”

At one point, Yates said, maybe four or five people surrounded Mends. She said she tried to push them back but they hit her and tried to attack Mends and the camera, which was damaged.

“They also threw a bottle of liquid what I believe is some sort of alcohol because it was literally burning our skin, my eyes,” she said.

Yates, who didn’t respond to U.S. Press Freedom Tracker requests for comment, called police and followed the people who harassed her and Mends, the report said.

Miami Beach police officers detained two subjects near Seventh Street and Ocean Drive. The subjects were arrested for criminal mischief, resisting an officer and battery, the Miami Beach Police Department confirmed to the Tracker.

Police also confirmed damage to the Sony PXW-X400 video camera, belonging to the CBS News crew, and stated damage was estimated at $90,000, if the camera needed to be replaced. Mends’ assault and the equipment damage is documented by the Tracker here.

Editor's Note: The date of the assault is May 12, 2021, not May 15, as originally published.

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