U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

San Francisco TV reporter robbed at gunpoint while recording interview

Incident Details

March 3, 2021

Don Ford, a reporter with California TV station KPIX 5, was robbed at gunpoint while reporting on a story about car break-ins around San Francisco landmark Twin Peaks on March 3, 2021.

Ford had been talking to a local resident when a white luxury sedan with four men inside drove up, according to KPIX. “Three guys jumped out, one had a gun, put it up to my face and said, ‘We’re taking the camera,’” Ford told the station in a later interview. “My whole thought at the moment was: ‘Let’s be calm. Let’s not get this guy excited. He’s got the gun. I don’t.’”

KPIX reported that Ford was not injured in the robbery.

Responding to a Tweet posted later that evening, the journalist wrote: “When someone points a Glock into your face you definitely let the camera go.”

Ford told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that the station had offered reporters a security guard to accompany them, but on this occasion he didn’t take one: “I was in an upscale neighborhood in the middle of the day. I felt safe. I was wrong,” he said.

The San Francisco Police Department Park Station, which covers the Twin Peaks area, tweeted about the incident the following day, writing: “The camera was recovered. This incident remains an active and ongoing investigation.”

When reached for comment by the Tracker in May, SFPD spokesperson Adam Lobsinger said that one person had been arrested in March in connection with the incident and that “investigators are still searching for additional suspects for this armed robbery.”

“We do not have information to suggest that the victims [of recent attacks] were targeted because of their status as journalists. The information suggests that the victims were targeted because of the high-dollar value of their electronic equipment,” Lobsinger added, referencing a series of incidents targeting TV crews in the city, including one in February and one in April.

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