You know you have clout when you are able to attack a news videographer and not have the incident reported by the respecting news station.
Fortunately, a competing newspaper had the guts to report the story of a son of a slain South Carolina mayor who attacked a news crew outside his father’s home earlier this month.
If the story was actually reported by WCNC-TV, the NBC affiliate out of Charlotte, then it is impossible to find on its website.
All I can report is what the Herald-Inquirer reported on its site.
According to the York newspaper, Ronald Benson Roberts, 51, confronted a 34-year-old videographer who was standing outside his father’s home on February 4 – the same day his father, Melvin Roberts, had been murdered by an unknown assailant.
The videographer was standing on public property. Roberts told him to leave the area. The videographer refused.
Roberts picked up the camera and tripod and threw it on the ground, causing $40,000 in damage. He had to be restrained by bystanders. The videographer consulted with his employer before filing a police report.
While it may be understandable for emotions to run high after an unexpected murder of a family member, it still doesn’t give a middle-aged man the right to attack a news videographer.
At 79, Melvin Roberts was a prominent attorney and former mayor of York, a tiny town in northern South Carolina.
Commenters on the Herald-Inquirer article are divided as to where they stand on the incident. Below are just a couple of examples.
From this article, I believe the reporter’s intention was to do a follow-up on the story in order to keep the murder in the public eye. Having set his camera up in the street would preclude the likelihood of asking anyone in the family any questions. I can understand Mr. Roberts’ being upset, but his father’s murder was and continues to be a newsworthy story. Mr. Roberts’ actions were a bit over the edge and he should be held responsible for them. Technically, since he used profanity, he could also be charged with verbal assault, leading to his arrest. Sounds like the tv station doesn’t want to be insensitive to his feelings and are just looking for restitution for the damage to the camera. Hopefully the murderer will be found soon.
I know Ron on a personal level. He is one the nicest person you could ever meet. He is going through the toughest, most trying and saddest time period of his life right now. To have news cameras aimed at you and your family 24/7 hounding for interviews during this time period would put anyone past the breaking point. The reporter is just lucky that he did not get attacked, instead of the camera. It is ok to get info for the news, but just don’t stand outside the families house during this terrible time of sadness.