Sunday, February 20, 2011

Schmuck Alert: Sacto Fracas

Fox 40 Attack

It's difficult to know what preceded the outburst caught on tape Sunday morning in Sacramento, but the result is UG-LEE. Screams, shouts, a cacophony of threats leading to a senseless attack. Yeah, there's Schmuck behavior on display all right; I just hope it's all on the side of the family. Here's what we do know:

FOX40 reporter John Lobertini and photojournalist Rebecca Little responded to the scene of a murder outside an IHOP Sunday morning. But they weren't alone. Friends and family of the slain 27 year old had also gathered at the scene, setting up a makeshift memorial. Reporter John Lobertini had the unenviable job of approaching the family to see if they wanted to comment on camera. It's an unsavory task, but one that most reporters can pull off withOUT adding to the drama surrounding an unexpected death. What happened next is unclear, but it's safe to say the family didn't want to talk. They did however want to the news crew to leave and the tactics they chose to convey this were, well, criminal. Several women pulled Little to the ground buy her hair, reportedly kicking her in the face. The mob then turned on Lobertini.
"I was punched on the side of my face," said Lobertini, "but it was a situation where I was trying to fight off 6 or 7 or 8 people, I can't even count them."
Eventually the blows subsided. Rebecca Little was able to free herself from her attackers, but the screaming continued while the TV cameras rolled. Both Little and Lobertini were 'shaken up' but did not require medical attention. No charges were filed. So what sparked the assault? Not sure, but all the ingredients for trouble were plainly visible before the first blow was landed: a grieving family, a fresh death, a nosy news crew. It's the kind of assignment I hide from, for no matter how much tact you employ, ugliness can break out at any turn. Most reporters I know are pretty adept at navigating these shoals, but with our society coarsening at an apocalyptic pace, it's impossible to knw when you'll be dashed against the rocks. Or worse.



Anonymous said...

At what point do you just call the police and let them keep the peace?

Anonymous said...

Clarifying. I reacted in shock to the video, and can well imagine that when someone's pushing you down or punching you it's hard to reach for your cell phone. But holy cow, did that ever need the men in blue to come restore order.

turdpolisher said...

It's easy to see what escalated the situation in the second video. And I'm sad to say, from what I can see here, it's probably a photog's fault. No matter how much tact a reporter or photog may employ, you NEVER approach greiving folks with a camera unless they've already agreed to talk to you!

If you do decide to intrude on this most sensative moment uninvited and brandishing you axe, you're asking for a beat-down. For God's sake, I'm not saying you can't -- it's a public street and all -- but you shouldn't.

Act like a human being with a little bit of empathy and get your pics from afar like photog number two did. Approach without a camera or mic. Ask to someone on the fringe if they would like to speak or if they can help you contact a family member and follow their lead. This ain't rocket science. It's human decency.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Turd. I was thinking the same thing as I watched that video.

Lenslinger said...

Expertly put, Rick.

turdpolisher said...

Thanks, but it's only the ghosts of shootings past channeling through me.

Mr KR said...

I also agree with T.P.