U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

WOIO photojournalist assaulted while covering police standoff

Incident Details

Date of Incident
April 22, 2022
Location
Cleveland, Ohio

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
SCREENSHOT

A screenshot from a WOIO report shows two men harassing another photojournalist attempting to document a police standoff in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 22, 2022. One of the men later assaulted a WOIO photojournalist.

— SCREENSHOT
April 22, 2022

An unidentified photojournalist with WOIO 19 News was assaulted by individuals while covering an arrest in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 22, 2022.

WOIO reported that one of its news crews was reporting on a tense standoff in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood connected to a viral video of two men pointing guns at a police officer.

Investigative reporter Kelly Kennedy 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.

Kennedy reported that the police then handcuffed the man. “So, it was a kind of scary situation out there — that’s kind of what you have to go through sometimes in the field,” she said.

Neither WOIO nor Kennedy responded to emailed requests for additional comment.

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

A police report identified that photojournalist as WKYC 3 Studios’ Craig Roberson; the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documented his equipment damage here.

According to the police report released to the Tracker, the man was charged with felony vandalism for damaging the $9,000 WKYC camera, which is punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

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