An Illinois man has been charged with battery and criminal damage to property after he attacked a news photographer and smashed his camera while the photographer was filming unrelated footage for a story.
The County State's Attorney's Office in Rock Island, Illinois, a city about 150 miles west of Chicago, has filed charges of battery and criminal damage against Brett R. Laermans, a 45-year-old resident of the city, in relation to an incident that took place on May 1 around 5 pm. During the incident, a WQAD News 8 photographer was filming footage of local businesses from the sidewalk near 38th Street and 18th Avenue for a story, when a man confronted him, upset that he had appeared in the shot when driving by. He then took the photographer's hat and camera, lifting the equipment above his head and smashing it on the ground. The video appears to show the man then running toward the photographer in a menacing manner, at which point it appears the photographer disengaged and ran to safety. Luckily, the photographer was uninjured in the confrontation. Police were called afterward and a report was filed, leading to the eventual charges filed on May 5. Laermans is due to appear in court on July 13.