Colorado reporter and chief photojournalist assaulted, equipment attacked

July 26, 2019

A KRDO News Channel 13 news team was assaulted and a broadcasting camera attacked while attempting to conduct an interview in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 26, 2019.

Reporter Stephanie Sierra and chief photojournalist Chappin Everett walked into Tri-Star Masonry at approximately 12:30 p.m. looking to interview the owner, Michael Reeg, in connection with the station’s investigative reporting on illicit spas in Southern Colorado, KRDO reported.

In the video published by KRDO, Reeg initially agrees to answer Sierra’s questions. When her first question mentions the spa leasing property from Reeg, he cuts her off, tells them to leave and moves towards her.

“Why don’t you guys get the hell out of here,” Reeg is heard saying. “I’m telling you to get the hell out of my place. And get that camera out of here.” Reeg can be seen moving past Sierra toward Everett, growing hostile as he attempts to swipe the camera away. A second unidentified man seems to attempt to prevent Reeg from hitting the camera.

According to the police report released to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, “[Sierra] said that [Reeg] then grabbed her wrist as they were walking to the door.”

“She also told me that Mr. Reeg was yelling obscenities at them as they were leaving,” Officer Tyler Koets wrote in the report. “I asked her if any of the interaction caused her pain and she said that it did not, but it was alarming.”

The video becomes shaky as the camera is jostled, and it appears that both Sierra and Everett are pushed out of the door. Once outside, Reeg again swipes at the camera and an object can be heard hitting the ground.

Everett can be heard saying, “That is pricey. I can’t wait for you to pay for my new camera.” Reeg responds, “You’re on private property, asshole.”

In the article for KRDO, Sierra wrote, “Our team decided to file a police report today because of Mr. Reeg’s reaction to our questions after he agreed to answer them and because his actions occurred while we were in the process of leaving his business — as requested.”

According to the police report, Everett told officers over the phone that a rubber eyepiece may have been knocked off the camera, but otherwise there was no damage to the equipment.

Officers issued Reeg a citation for harassment.

Everett told the Tracker that neither he nor Sierra would like to comment until the incident has been fully resolved.

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

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