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No charges in attack on TV crew

John Lobertini fends off an angry mob in February. (Screen grab from KTXL.)

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office will not file charges against two people who allegedly were involved in an assault on a KTXL Fox 40 news crew outside a House of Pancakes in February, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The altercation occurred Feb. 20 outside the restaurant, where mourners had gathered for a vigil for a 27-year-old man who had been shot to death in the parking lot of the restaurant about 13 hours earlier.

According to a District Attorney’s Office release, media members who approached the vigil were told mourners did not want to be interviewed or filmed.

When the Fox40 crew of reporter John Lobertini, formerly of KPIX, and photojournalist Rebecca Little approached the vigil, a mourner verbally attacked them, demanding that they respect the group’s request for privacy, the release states.

The Fox40 crew did not retreat and declared their right to film in a public place, the release states. An argument ensued between the crew and members of the group, as the crew continued to film.

An altercation followed in which Little was pulled to the ground by her hair and kicked while on the ground, and a member of the vigil group appeared to swing a fist at Lobertini, the release states.

The D.A. was able to identify those who attacked the TV crew, but their actions “do not rise to the level of a prosecutable case for assault or battery,” according to the release. A unanimous verdict reached by 12 jurors would have been “highly unlikely under the state of the evidence,” the release states.

The woman who grabbed Little’s hair “technically qualifies as a misdemeanor assault or battery,” the release states, but the context of the attack and the fact that Little’s injuries were minor made it “highly unlikely” that a jury would unanimously convict Jackson of battery.

Both victims initially declined to press charges, according to the release.

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