U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist assaulted while reporting at Portland park

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 25, 2022
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
January 25, 2023 - Update

Photojournalist gets apology from assailant, drops assault charges

An unidentified KGW-TV photojournalist, assaulted on assignment in Portland, Oregon, reached an agreement with his assailant on Jan. 25, 2023, in which he received a letter of apology and the charges were dropped, according to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

In July 2022, the photojournalist had finished gathering footage of a community outreach event when Joshua David Sears charged at him, punching him twice and leaving him with several cuts and a bruised eye. Sears was arrested and charged with assault and harassment.

July 25, 2022

An unidentified photojournalist with KGW News was assaulted while on assignment in Lents Park in Portland, Oregon, on July 25, 2022.

The station reported that the photographer was covering an community outreach event hosted by the group PDX Saints Love, which was providing a cooling station and water from July 25 to 29 amid a heatwave in the region.

According to the station, the photojournalist was finishing filming and was holding his camera by his side when one of the individuals attending the event became agitated and charged at him. The man jumped over a picnic table and chased the photojournalist toward his station vehicle, punching him before he was able to get into the car.

Though the photojournalist was able to enter the vehicle, KGW reported that the man opened the door before the journalist could lock it and punched him again. The event organizers then told the man to leave and he walked away.

The station reported that the unidentified photojournalist suffered several cuts and a bruised eye and received treatment by medics at the scene.

A second KGW journalist at the scene, not named in the report, called 911 and told officers which direction the suspect had fled. Portland Police Bureau officers found the man nearby a short while later and placed him under arrest. Joshua David Sears was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault, which is punishable by a fine of up to $6,250, a year in jail or both.

In a statement to the outlet, KGW News Director Greg Retsinas said: “We are distressed at this unprovoked act of violence against our employees who were working to tell a positive story in the community. Thankfully, community members at the scene stepped in right away to assist and prevent more serious injury.”

Neither Retsinas or KGW reporter Christine Pitawanich, who tweeted about the event, responded to requests for comment.

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