U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Fox 5 DC news crew, other journalists face targeted assaults while covering Capitol riots

Incident Details

December 7, 2023 - Update

Texas woman arrested for actions during Capitol riot

A Texas woman was arrested on Dec. 7, 2023, on charges related to her actions at the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., where she was caught on video assaulting and harassing a WTTG news crew.

Dana Jean Bell faces felony charges of assaulting and obstructing law enforcement officers as well as multiple misdemeanor offenses, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia announced.

In a statement of facts that accompanied the announcement, an FBI agent describes a video posted on Twitter in which Bell can be seen “assaulting a member of the press,” and mentions that she is identifiable by her “distinctive telephone case” and outfit.

This description matches the video posted by WTTG reporter Sierra Fox, shot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Bell’s case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section. It remains under investigation by the FBI.

January 6, 2021

A Fox 5 DC news crew was harassed and a cameraman assaulted by rioters while covering the insurrection in and around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump spoke at noon at a rally in front of the White House in response to the Congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden, promoting false claims of election fraud and calling for his supporters to march to the Capitol, The New York Times reported. Following the rally, thousands of pro-Trump supporters waving Confederate and Trump flags violently stormed the Capitol, disrupting and occupying several areas within the building.

At about 4:40 p.m., Fox 5 DC reporter Sierra Fox posted a tweet showing her and the news crew covering the scene outside the Capitol when demonstrators harassed and assaulted them, forcing them out of the area.

“This is how the media is being treated out here,” Fox wrote alongside a video posted on Twitter. In the video, as she and the crew are navigating the crowd, demonstrators can be heard yelling, “Fuck the media,” and “Get out of here.”

At the 11-second mark, a woman lurches at what is presumably Fox’s phone, but Fox quickly turns away. The same woman grabs and kicks another, unidentified member of the crew a few seconds later. In the back, a demonstrator can be seen reaching for the Fox cameraman’s equipment. Toward the end of the video, several people follow the crew and continue to harass and film them, but ultimately fall back. In another video shared with the Tracker, a demonstrator is seen ripping off the cameraman's mask.

Fox could not be reached for comment.

In a press release the next day, outgoing Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund called the attacks on Jan. 6 “criminal riotous behavior” and said the United States Capitol Police would be conducting a “thorough review of this incident.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting multiple assaults, detainments and equipment damages from Jan. 6 events. Find those here.

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