Amid last week’s violence in Charlottesville, a journalist alleges she was punched in the face and thrown to the ground, according to a criminal complaint she filed after the incident.
Taylor Lorenz, a journalist for the Hill, was live-streaming from the scene Aug. 12 when a 21-year-old man started screaming for her to stop recording, she said in her written testimony.
So far, this year has seen 15 cases of physical attacks on journalists, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which documents press-freedom abuses in the United States.
The man, identified as Jacob Leigh Smith of Louisa, Va., was arrested the same day and charged with assault and battery.
Smith was scheduled to appear in court Friday after being released on a $1,000 secured bond. He is not allowed to leave Virginia under his bail conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 25.
During the incident, Smith allegedly punched Lorenz in the face, knocked the phone out of her hand and threw her to the ground, she said. He repeatedly threatened her, she added.
“I was so scared. This man is dangerous,” she wrote.
In the video posted on the Hill’s Facebook page, Smith can be seen coming up to Lorenz and asking her to stop recording, before knocking the phone out of her hand. “Stop the f---ing recording!” he screamed at her.
The alleged assault occurred about 15 minutes after rallygoer James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of driving his silver Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, and injuring 19 others.
According to the press-freedom tracker, another reporter, Christopher Schiano, was attacked in the head with a tiki torch in Charlottesville last Friday. Two journalists were also attacked Sunday in Richmond and Asheville, N.C., while covering demonstrations related to the unrest in Charlottesville.
The tracking project is funded in part by a $50,000 contribution to the Committee to Protect Journalists by Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.). The donation was made as part of a legal settlement with Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian who Gianforte had body-slammed in May during his congressional campaign.
Jacob’s glasses, broken during the assault, were loaned to the Newseum in June.