U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Colorado Politics reporter assaulted by member of the public in Denver Capitol newsroom

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 20, 2021
Location
Denver, Colorado

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
July 20, 2021

Pat Poblete, a legislative reporter for Colorado Politics, was working in the Capitol newsroom in Denver when he said a woman assaulted him on July 20, 2021.

“I was assaulted. In the Capitol newsroom. Because I am a journalist,” Poblete wrote in a series of tweets. “The woman who attacked me and attempted to make off with @MGoodland‘s property was set off when she found out she was in the press room and echoed the rhetoric the former president directed at journalists.”

At about 10 p.m., Poblete had been writing up a short story when a woman entered the press room, according to Westword, an independent publication in Denver. “I imagine she just wandered in because it was hot outside,” he said in the article. “Then she asked what I did and where we were, and I said we were in one of the CPA [Capitol Press Association] press rooms, and that set her off. She did the whole Trumpy, nine-yards thing about fake news and how you guys are making up lies and journalism is poisoning the community.”

Marianne Goodland, Colorado Politics' chief statehouse reporter, told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker she was not in the room at the time of the assault, but that things on her desk had been moved, although nothing was damaged.

“To reiterate, I’m physically fine,” Poblete wrote in another tweet. “Mentally is a different story and the what if’s are haunting me. What if I was seriously hurt? What if she had a weapon? What if it was a gun? What if, instead of a 5’4 woman, it was an assailant the same height and weight as me?”

Goodland told the Tracker that Poblete chose not to press charges, but that the newspaper has asked for a copy of the video footage. “We've never had anything like this happen,” she said. “We were just horrified. He has been grateful for all the support he has gotten.”

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