U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Texas TV reporter injured at campus protest when sheriff’s deputy struck camera

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 1, 2024
Richardson, Texas


Was the journalist targeted?

Law enforcement dismantles a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Texas at Dallas on May 1, 2024. A sheriff’s deputy, pictured in blue jeans, hit reporter Blake Hanson’s camera with bolt cutters, injuring Hanson’s finger.

May 1, 2024

TV reporter Blake Hanson injured a finger while covering a protest at the University of Texas at Dallas on May 1, 2024, when his camera was hit with bolt cutters by a Collin County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

Hanson, a reporter and weekend evening news anchor at KDFW in Richardson, said in a post on the social network X that he was reporting on law enforcement’s dismantling of a pro-Palestinian encampment and the arrests of protesters.

The posted video of the incident shows a man wearing a uniform with a “Sheriff” label on his chest, who smacks Hanson’s camera with bolt cutters. Hanson shouts, “Fox 4 media! Media!” The man responds, “Get back!” Hanson repeats, “Media! You’ve got to warn me first!” The man orders him a second time to get back.

The station reported that law enforcement had shown up in riot gear to dismantle the encampment, and that some were using bolt cutters to remove objects chained to trees.

Hanson wrote on X that he was filming the arrest of a protester at the time of the attack. “I realized I was standing in the man’s walking path, so I started backing up. That’s when he struck me and then told me to back up after,” adding, “I had a microphone in my hand, phone recording, clearly media.”

Hanson suffered a swollen finger but said he was otherwise fine. “But all law enforcement needs to respect the media’s right to operate in that highly-charged environment — obviously while respecting their area to work and do their duties.”

Neither Hanson nor KDFW responded to requests for comment from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

A spokesperson for the Collin County Sheriff’s Office told the Tracker via email that the incident had been referred to their Internal Affairs Section for investigation. “As of now, we have no comment, nor do we have any further information to share,” she wrote.

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