U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Man attacks TV photojournalist filming outside of Nashville school

Incident Details

October 12, 2020

Two journalists for local TV station WSMV News 4 in Nashville, Tennessee, were attacked by an unidentified man on Oct. 12, 2020, as they were doing field reporting for a feature story.

Caresse Jackman, a consumer news investigative reporter for WSMV, and a cameraman were recording B-roll outside of an elementary school for a segment about two women who made COVID-19 masks for students. During the shoot they were approached by a man they did not know, according to social media posts and Mediaite.

“While shooting video for a feature story-a man from across the street kept looking [at] our crew. We never said a word to him,” Jackman posted on her Twitter account. “I got out of the car to record. He started to approach me. My photog tried to get his attention so he wouldn't come my way. The man then attacked us.”

Jackman posted a video of the man, who was wearing a red shirt and gray shorts, walking toward the videographer, who is not identified in Jackman’s social media posts about the incident.

“I told you,” the man can be heard saying before attacking the videographer and his camera equipment.

Jackman also posted a video that she recorded with her phone, showing the man grappling with the cameraman, tearing at his shirt and punching him once in the face. During the scuffle, the assailant falls to the ground.

“Get back or I am calling the police,” Jackman warns the assailant as he struggles to get to his feet. “You assaulted my partner. We could press charges.”

Jackman and her colleague get in their vehicle without any further physical contact with the assailant.

On Oct. 16, Jackman shared on her Facebook account a message from the colleague who was attacked, in which he wrote that police were able to find the assailant. According to the Facebook post, the attacker said he wanted to apologize to the journalists, and they agreed to meet with him personally with a detective present.

“Contrary to what many concluded, this was not an ‘attack on the media’ or ‘politically motivated,’” the photojournalist wrote after that meeting. “I accepted his apology and decided not to press charges.”

Jackman did not respond to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s requests for comment.

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