U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Woman smashes Connecticut TV station’s camera

Incident Details

July 6, 2021

A woman grabbed and repeatedly smashed a video camera belonging to Connecticut station WVIT-TV and threw it against the station’s vehicle outside the Hartford Police Department, where a WVIT reporter and photographer were parked in the early hours of July 6, 2021.

WVIT reporter Jennifer Joas posted a video of the incident on Facebook shot from inside the station’s vehicle, where she and a WVIT photographer, who was not fully identified, were sitting. Joas wrote in her post that the woman began smashing the station’s camera against the ground shortly before 5 a.m. and that it was unclear why she was doing it.

In the video, the woman can be seen throwing the camera to the ground multiple times, walking away, then returning, picking up the camera and throwing it at the window of the news vehicle, continuing to do so as the crew drives out of the parking lot.

Joas later wrote on Facebook that the woman’s blows dented the vehicle, though they did not break the windows. She also wrote that “police have the video & screen shots.”

“The past few years have been difficult as journalists,” Joas wrote on Facebook. “This is the third time in two months that a person has become agitated for unknown reasons & prevented me from doing my job.”

Joas did not respond to emailed requests for comment from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. But she wrote on Facebook that she and the photographer had “gone through extensive training & have been told no matter what — leave the gear behind. So we had to leave it to protect ourselves. But it's so difficult seeing our camera being used as a weapon against us.”

A spokesperson for the Hartford Police Department told the Tracker by email that the department was unable to identify or locate a suspect for the incident.

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