U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

NYC building owner assaults reporter, breaks station camera equipment

Incident Details

Screenshot via Spectrum News NY1

When an interview with a landlord became physical, a Spectrum News NY1 reporter was assaulted and the station camera was damaged.

— Screenshot via Spectrum News NY1
November 7, 2023 - Update

Case sealed against NYC landlord who pushed NY1 reporter, broke station’s camera

The case against the New York City landlord who assaulted Spectrum News NY1 reporter Michael Herzenberg has been sealed, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in an email on Nov. 7, 2023.

Herzenberg went to a liquor store owned by Michael Rose in November 2019 to interview him about allegations that tenants in two buildings he owned had been living without heat or gas for months. Mid-interview, Rose attempted to grab the microphone out of Herzenberg’s hand, then pushed him multiple times and hit the station’s camera, breaking it.

Rose was arrested and charged with criminal mischief.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told the Tracker that the case against Rose could have been sealed for several reasons: the case was dismissed, the defendant accepted a six-month probation deal (a so-called adjournment in contemplation of dismissal), or the defendant pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct or another non-criminal violation.

November 12, 2019

Michael Herzenberg, a reporter for Spectrum News NY1, was assaulted and a NY1 camera damaged in an altercation with a New York City landlord on Nov. 12, 2019, after Herzenberg attempted to interview him concerning complaints from his tenants.

Herzenberg was investigating allegations that there had been no heat or gas in two buildings owned by Michael Rose since May, NY1 reported in its write-up of the altercation. Herzenberg entered a business owned by Rose alongside Daniel Bernstein, the founder of a tenants association for the buildings.

After answering a few questions, Rose became hostile. In a video of the incident captured by NY1, Rose answers a question then tries to grab the NY1 microphone out of Herzenberg’s hand and says, “Alright, that’s enough.”

Someone can be heard asking Rose what he is doing as he pushes Herzenberg multiple times and appears to attempt to pull away the NY1 camera. In its Facebook post, NY1 said the camera was broken in the altercation.

“I said get the fuck out of here,” Rose says. Rose appears to drag Herzenberg out of the store by his jacket. Once outside, Rose can be seen punching Bernstein in the head.

NYPD Spokesperson Sgt. Jessica McRorie told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that Bernstein sustained injuries but refused medical attention. It is unclear whether Herzenberg, who declined to comment, was injured in the scuffle. McRorie confirmed that Rose “broke a part of the [NY1] camera by smashing it with his hand.”

Rose was arrested and held overnight. McRorie told the Tracker that Rose has been charged with criminal mischief. West Side Rag reported that Rose’s next court date is Dec. 5.

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