U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

WKYC photojournalist’s camera damaged while covering police standoff

Incident Details

Date of Incident
April 22, 2022
Location
Cleveland, Ohio

Equipment Damage

Equipment Broken
SCREENSHOT

A screenshot from a WOIO report on April 22, 2022, shows a photojournalist looking on after an individual threw his camera equipment to the ground in Cleveland, Ohio.

— SCREENSHOT
April 22, 2022

WKYC 3 Studios photojournalist Craig Roberson was harassed by individuals and his camera damaged while covering an arrest in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 22, 2022.

WOIO 19 News reported that journalists from multiple broadcast stations were covering a tense standoff in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood connected to a viral video of two men pointing guns at a police officer.

Kelly Kennedy, an investigative reporter with the WOIO team on scene, said in a report for the outlet that a few nearby residents were angry that there were journalists filming.

“When we got to the scene, some neighbors were really angry when they saw our cameras and one man actually tried to grab one of our photographers’ cameras and then he actually knocked over another TV station’s camera and broke it,” Kennedy said, referring to Roberson’s equipment.

According to the police report, the $9,000 WKYC camera was destroyed and broken into multiple pieces. The man was charged with felony vandalism, punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

When reached for comment, WKYC President and General Manager Micki Byrnes confirmed that Roberson’s camera was damaged and that he was unharmed; Roberson did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

WOIO’s Kennedy wrote on Twitter that everyone was OK, and that the incident was just one example of the kind of harassment journalists face daily when just trying to do their jobs.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documented the WOIO assault here.

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