U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Protesters in Berkeley steal local TV reporter's phone and dunk it in water

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 27, 2017

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes

Equipment Damage

Equipment Broken
Thomas Hawk

Thom Jensen, a freelance journalist for KNTV, argues with protesters after they steal his phone, in Berkeley, California, on Aug. 27, 2017.

— Thomas Hawk
August 27, 2017

Thom Jensen, a freelance reporter for NBC affiliate KNTV, had his phone taken by protesters while covering an anti-fascist demonstration on Aug. 27, 2017, in Berkeley, California.

Lizzie Johnson, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, tweeted a video that shows protesters chasing Jensen and yelling, “Take his camera, take his phone!”

Thomas Hawk, an independent photojournalist who also covered the rally, told the Freedom of the Press Foundation that he saw Jensen arguing with a group of protesters after they took his phone.

Jensen later tweeted that the protesters who took his phone submerged it in a water-filled barricade. He said that he got the phone back and it continued to work.

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