A Univision Chicago journalist was assaulted and threatened by an unidentified man during a live shoot on Sept. 6, 2023. She was uninjured and police are searching for a suspect.
According to a report by CWBChicago, the unnamed TV reporter and a camera operator were streaming on Facebook Live from a shopping center in the city’s South Loop around 7:45 p.m. when the man approached her, grabbed her, tried to grab her phone and said: “You know I could kill you.”
The Chicago Police Department Office of Communications also confirmed the report, adding that a witness intervened and the man fled the scene.
The incident was filmed, according to CWBChicago, but it has since been taken down from the internet.
Raza Siddiqui, president of NABET-CWA Local 41, the union representing broadcast technicians in Chicago, said in light of this assault and at least two others in the Chicago area involving members of the media, he has now met with Univision representatives and camera operators regarding safety.
“We have discussed the measures we are going to take to make safety a priority in covering news in Chicago, along with empowering our news crews to know that they have the final discretion” to determine whether a scene is safe and to continue coverage, he told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker via email.
For example, Siddiqui told the Tracker, stations may choose to forgo a live shot and rely on doing a “look live” — when a reporter appears to be live in the field but tapes their introduction or a part of their package in the studio or at another location.
He said the union is also planning on meeting with other broadcast unions to express concerns and consider safety steps.
The Sept. 6 assault is the third incident in a month in Chicago involving members of the press.
On Aug. 8, a WLS-TV videographer attending a press conference on Chicago’s West Side was robbed and two phones he had inside his vehicle were stolen. Then, on Aug. 28, a different Univision reporter and a cameraperson were robbed at gunpoint and a TV station camera stolen while the crew was preparing to file a report from the city’s North Side about its robbery problem.
There were no injuries and no suspects have been named in either case, police said. Neither police nor Siddiqui identified any of the news crews involved in the incidents.