, 25 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD: It’s been 36 hours since @AprilDRyan’s security guard assaulted me in a hotel lobby after stealing our camera.

Because there has been some misinformation going around, I want to lay out exactly what happened before, during, & after this video.

I’m the editor of @NB_Today & our team was explicitly invited to attend & cover the event by @juanmelli (Mercury Public Affairs) on 7/25 & again on 8/1.

We also published a very fair preview article that highlighted Ms. Ryan’s scheduled keynote speech: newbrunswick.today/white-house-jo…
The author of that article was unable to attend the event due to a prior obligation, but I said I would go in the hopes of capturing a high-quality video of Ms. Ryan’s keynote speech using our Sony NX30. I intended to post the video to our YouTube channel without any editing.
I had no intention to write any articles, or to ask Ms. Ryan any questions. Unlike many stories I do, I wasn’t digging deep or trying to put anyone on the spot. Just thought it was cool that a well-known journo was speaking in my city & something our audience might appreciate.
On Friday 8/2, I RSVP’ed to Mr. Melli and specifically stated that I wanted to attend “Saturday’s keynote speech.” There was a full day of other stuff scheduled that day, the second day of the 3-day “summit” sponsored by a bunch of NJ groups that push for more charter schools.
On the big night, I arrived at @TheHeldrich Hotel at about 6:45pm, 15 mins. before the “Parent Awards” ceremony was set to begin. As instructed, I checked in w/ @willherberich who apparently works with a different PR firm (PACE Education Strategies) than the one that invited us.
I asked Mr. Herberich where I could set up our video camera so as not to disrupt the event, block the serving areas, or block anyone’s view.

At his suggestion, I set up the camera and tripod right next to another camera and tripod. I shook hands w/ the man running that camera.
I spent nearly 3 hours at the #NJParentSummit without incident. Before the program began, I introduced myself to @RepDonaldPayne and thanked him for his recent support of impeaching the President. I also helped take a couple photos for a woman who wanted one w/ the Congressman.
I was a very polite guest during the event, sitting at the table closest to my camera & right next to @ChuckODonnell3 of @NewBrunswickTAP.

I recorded the entire program, occasionally returning to the camera to adjust the shot. I had some dessert & helped myself to some hot tea.
I recorded the remarks of Assemblywoman @shavondasumter without incident, as well as the presentation of two “Parent of the Year” awards, and a pleasant surprise that was not listed on the summit agenda: a musical performance by Newark's own @leahjeneamusic.
At about 8:30pm, Rep. Payne took to the stage to introduce the keynote speaker, Ms. Ryan. During the intro, this man came up to me, mentioned my video camera & asked me “Who are you with?”

I gave him my card & explained that I followed the proper channels to cover the event.
I asked if he had a card & he responded by saying he was “with the speaker." He left & I thought this would be the end of it, but the mystery man returned, threatening to "take... down" my camera if I did not do so myself.

I declined to acquiesce to this threat from a stranger.
Just as Rep. Payne was praising Ms. Ryan for her recent @rcfp “Freedom of the Press” award, the public relations people started to gather around me at my table, pressuring me to stop recording.

As soon as things started going south, I began recording audio of our conversation.
I maintained a firm position re: video recording, saying I wouldn't take action until I could get more info on the man who threatened to mess w/ my camera.

I told them "If he doesn’t give me his name & tell me on the record why I can’t [video], I’m not turning off the camera.”
Then a woman who did not explain her role tried to negotiate w/ me, saying I could record audio & “pull quotes” from it if I wanted to.

I tried to explain that I wasn’t writing an article and that the purpose of my attendance was to video record the speech. Just doing my job.
This woman, who I later learned is Shennell McCloud, the Executive Director of “Project Ready," insisted that Ms. Ryan would not take the stage unless my camera was gone, but moments later, Ms. Ryan took the stage.

At this point, we all left the room to discuss further.
The mystery man, still refusing to give his name, returned to the ballroom. I warned him not to touch my camera.

At the same time, Ms. Ryan was thanking Rep. Payne for his introduction, stating “it’s an honor to be in your district.” (New Brunswick is not in his district.)
Ms. Ryan’s remarks were then interrupted by a visit from the mystery man, who I later learned is named Joel Morris and works as a “security guard” for Ms. Ryan.

Mr. Morris approached the podium & said something to her. She nodded and went silent for the next 27 seconds.
Rather than, you know, pushing the camera’s record button to stop the video recording (or just turning it off), Mr. Morris proceeded to unplug my camera, grab the tripod it was connected to, and steal the entire thing.
As soon as Mr. Morris touched our camera, I spoke up, saying: “Don’t touch my camera, please. Put that down. Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir.”

At the same time, Ms. Ryan began attempting to explain to the crowd why they were witnessing the theft of our camera.
“When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech,” explained Ms. Ryan, adding she wanted to be able to have an “unfettered” discussion.

Never mind the other video camera (or the other news reporter) that still remained in the room.
Now guilty of 3rd-degree theft of movable property under NJ law , Mr. Morris fled towards to the front desk of the hotel, bringing the stolen property w/ him.

I gathered some of my belongings and caught up w/ the thief, demanding he return the camera. He eventually gave it up.
This should have been the end of it.

I had retrieved the property that Mr. Morris had stolen from me, and at this point, I had ZERO interest in returning to an event where I had quickly come to feel unwelcome.

But then Mr. Morris began to get violent w/ me right there.
I was carrying my phone (which was recording audio) in one hand & the camera/tripod in the other.

I tried to get away from the perpetrator, but within seconds, he began assaulting me without provocation in the lobby & continued his assault as he forced me out of the building.
I screamed and used some profane language towards Mr. Morris as he grabbed my left arm and twisted it behind my back, injuring my forearm and shoulder.

I later gave a statement to NBPD's Ryan Daughton & he told me that he'd prepare a police report.

I intend to press charges.
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