U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

PIX11 reporter Howard Thompson attacked with bat during interview

Incident Details

Date of Incident
February 6, 2018
New York, New York


Was the journalist targeted?

PIX11 reporter Howard Thompson sits in an ambulance after being attacked by a man whom he was trying to interview.

— PIX11
February 6, 2018

As PIX11 reporter Howard Thompson tried to conduct an on-camera interview with a mechanic in New York on Feb. 6, 2018, the man attacked Thompson and his cameraman with a metal baseball bat.

Thompson is the host of "Help Me Howard," a news segment on PIX11 that confronts individuals accused of unscrupulous behavior.

On Jan. 25, Thompson made his first attempt to interview Jose Lebron-Pimentel, the owner of an auto repair shop in the Bronx. Thompson wanted to ask Lebron-Pimentel about allegations that he had refused to honor a court-ordered $2,000 judgement. Thompson left after failing to find Lebron-Pimentel.

On Feb. 6, Thompson and a PIX11 photographer, John Frasse, visited the auto repair shop again. They quickly found Lebron-Pimentel inside the garage, armed with a metal bat. PIX11 caught the entire altercation on tape.

"Jose? All right, no bats! No bats!" Thompson says as Lebron-Pimentel runs out of the garage with the bat.

Lebron-Pimentel chases Thompson and Frass into the street, swinging the bat in their direction and striking Thompson in the arm and Frasse in the hip.

Thompson later said on PIX11 that he called the police immediately after the attack, and officers quickly arrived on the scene and arrested Lebron-Pimentel.

The New York City Police Department said that Thompson and Frasse were attacked around noon on East 180th Street, in the Bronx. Lebron-Pimentel was arrested on charges of assault and held on $5,000 bail.

A man attacks PIX11's Howard Thompson and John Frasse with a metal bat as they attempt to interview him in the Bronx on Feb. 6, 2018.


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