U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist shoved, equipment damaged at UCLA student protest

Incident Details


Reporter Cam Higby filmed his interaction with individuals attempting to prevent him from documenting a sit-in at the University of California, Los Angeles, on May 23, 2024. He was later pushed out of the building and had his solar battery damaged.

May 23, 2024

Reporter Cam Higby said he was assaulted while attempting to report on the occupation of a building on the University of California, Los Angeles, campus on May 23, 2024.

UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, reported that protesters staged a sit-in at an academic building after law enforcement officers cleared a second pro-Palestinian encampment on campus.

Higby told the Tracker he was blocked from entering the building through the front doors but was able to find a way in through a side entrance. “I was just filming and kind of walking around, taking pictures of the graffiti they had spray-painted inside the building,” he said.

Shortly after, someone recognized him and called out, “This guy’s a Zionist!”

Multiple individuals then surrounded him near the top of a set of exit stairs, jeering at him and challenging his status as a journalist. Higby confirmed with the Tracker that he was wearing a press credential from Today Is America, which he described as a digital news media and commentary site.

Higby said he started to walk away from the individuals, but someone came from behind and struck his camera with what he believes was a closed fist.

In his footage of the incident, a voice can be heard asking Higby, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

He said that while the individuals surrounded him, someone poured cold coffee into a pocket of his equipment bag, damaging his solar charger. In the footage, after Higby pulls out the soaked charger, a voice can be heard stating, “Your actions have consequences,” while others chant, “Busted!”

“They berated me, taunted me, told me it would be a shame if I slipped on the coffee that was now leaking out of my bag,” Higby said. “Then they pushed me down the stairs. I remained on my feet and then they pushed me out the door and I fell on my back.”

He added that he later attempted to reenter the building by donning a kaffiyeh and posing as a protester, but was again identified, assaulted and forced out of the building. Higby told the Tracker he filed a police report about the incidents.

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