- Date of Incident
- March 28, 2022
- Kevin Sheehan (New York Post)
- Private individual
- Was the journalist targeted?
Kevin Sheehan, a reporter for the New York Post, was assaulted by a man who was being evicted from his makeshift dwelling in Riverbank State Park in New York City on March 28, 2022.
According to the Post, the man, Rewell Altunaga, has lived in the park for several months. His eviction came the day after city officials issued a "notice of clean up" in the area of the park where Altunaga was living. Sheehan, who was reporting on the New York Police Department eviction of the area with a colleague, captured the assault on video.
The video shows Altunaga climbing down from a tree and grabbing a tree branch before walking toward Sheehan. Altunaga then asks Sheehan, "Why are you taking pictures?" before hitting Sheehan twice with the tree branch, once on his head, and knocking his phone out of his hand. Sheehan did not respond to requests for comment from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, and it is unclear if his phone was damaged.
In the video, Sheehan tells three police officers present about the assault. "This guy just hit me with a stick. You guys can't just let him walk away. That's assault," he said.
The video shows NYPD police officers arresting Altunaga after he hit another Post journalist, photographer G.N. Miller, with a garbage bag, causing Miller’s camera to smash to the ground. The Tacker has documented that assault and equipment damage here.
According to the Post, Altunaga was charged with second-degree assault and released without bail on March 30. A judge also ordered that he remain clear of journalists Sheehan and Miller. NYPD has acknowledged but not responded to a request for more details.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]