Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Summons Issued to April Ryan's Security Guard Who Allegedly Roughed Up a Reporter

Court officials have issued a summons to April Ryan’s bodyguard after an incident earlier this month involving the guard allegedly roughing up a local news reporter covering an event that featured the CNN political analyst as the keynote speaker.

The New Brunswick Municipal Court issued the summons Monday:

Just in: Court officials in New Jersey issue summons against security guard for @AprilDRyan who was involved in an incident involving journalist @CharlieKratovil on Aug. 3. More… pic.twitter.com/0N0f8vHexR

— Paul Farhi (@farhip) August 19, 2019

The summons stems from an August 3 incident involving local news editor Charlie Kratovil of New Brunswick Today and Ryan’s security guard, who Kratovil identified as Joel Morris. Kratovil attended the New Jersey Parent Summit at the Heldrich Hotel throughout the day without any issues, but tensions starting building after Morris asked Kratovil who he was with and allegedly threatened to take his camera down.

“I declined to acquiesce to this threat from a stranger,” Kratovil wrote.

“Just as Rep. Payne was praising Ms. Ryan for her recent @rcfp ‘Freedom of the Press’ award, the public relations people started to gather around me at my table, pressuring me to stop recording,” he continued in a Twitter thread, noting that things “started going south,” which prompted him to record the conversation.

He was told that Ryan would not take the stage with his camera up, but she did. However, Ryan’s security guard approached her on stage, whispered something, and proceeded to unplug Kratovil’s camera.

Rather than, you know, pushing the camera’s record button to stop the video recording (or just turning it off), Mr. Morris proceeded to unplug my camera, grab the tripod it was connected to, and steal the entire thing.

— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) August 5, 2019

As soon as Mr. Morris touched our camera, I spoke up, saying: “Don’t touch my camera, please. Put that down. Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir.”

At the same time, Ms. Ryan began attempting to explain to the crowd why they were witnessing the theft of our camera.

— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) August 5, 2019

As the clash escalated, Ryan reportedly told the crowd, “When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech”:

“When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech,” explained Ms. Ryan, adding she wanted to be able to have an “unfettered” discussion.

Never mind the other video camera (or the other news reporter) that still remained in the room.

— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) August 5, 2019

The skirmish eventually moved to the lobby, where Shennell McCloud, executive director of Project Ready, allegedly demanded Kratovil to leave the hotel. At that point, Kratovil says Morris grabbed him in an effort to remove him from the hotel lobby. There is footage of the incident.

Kratovil announced his intention to press charges in an August 5 tweet and said Ryan’s reputation rested on addressing the incident “head-on and proclaiming that what happened that night in New Brunswick cannot be tolerated.”

Ryan, however, failed to comment on the incident, further prompting Kratovil to seek legal counsel.

“This was more than just an assault on me. This was an assault on freedom of the press, and April Ryan should have immediately condemned the use of violence against a journalist,” Kratovil said in a statement, according to the Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi.

“Because Ms. Ryan has failed to publicly address or apologize for her role in this ugly incident, I am now seeking legal counsel to initiate proceedings that will hold her accountable for the unacceptable and illegal behavior of her employee,” he added:

…apologize for her role in this ugly incident, I am now seeking legal counsel to initiate proceedings that will hold her accountable for the unacceptable and illegal behavior of her employee." More…

— Paul Farhi (@farhip) August 19, 2019

Hannah Bleau

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