News and Commentary

WH Reporter April Ryan’s Bodyguard Charged With Assault For Forcibly Removing Journalist Filming Her
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 30: April Ryan speaks onstage at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on June 30, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images

A bodyguard for CNN political analyst April Ryan has been summoned to appear by a New Jersey court after he allegedly assaulted a journalist who was filming Ryan at a speaking event.

On August 3, Charlie Kratovil, a reporter with the New Brunswick Today, attended the New Jersey Parent Summit at the Heldrich Hotel. There, Ryan, who is D.C. bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, delivered the keynote address. Kratovil was credentialed as a reporter and was videotaping the speech when one of Ryan’s bodyguards, Joel Morris, allegedly seized his camera and forcibly ejected him from the hotel.

“When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech,” Ryan told the audience as Kratovil was removed from the audience.

Ryan has angrily complained that officials in the Trump White House have sought to silence her. “There have been efforts to silence me in the briefing room, there have been efforts to discredit me,” she said.

Kratovil on Monday posted a photo of him holding up a court document, with the caption: “CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED: April Ryan’s ‘security guard’ will be arraigned 9/12 in Superior Court on charges of harassment, assault and theft by unlawful taking.”

And Kratovil posted a video on his Twitter page Monday, saying police have found “probable cause” to charge Morris with harassment, assault and theft.

“This was more than just an assault on me,” Kratovil said. “This was an assault on freedom of the press, and April Ryan should have immediately condemned the use of violence against a journalist.”

The incident was caught on surveillance cameras in the hotel and show Morris taking Kratovil’s camera before he manhandled the reporter and shoved him out the door.

In another video, Morris is seen approaching Ryan at the podium and the two spoke quietly. She stopped her speech for 30 seconds as Kratovil was ejected.

“Don’t touch my camera, please. Put that down. Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir,” Kratovil said as he was led out.

On Monday, Kratovil said he was just doing his job.

“I was there to cover April Ryan’s speech. Joel Morris stole [my] camera, high-tailed it out of the room. One thing led to another, I ended up being assaulted after retrieving the camera. But now Mr. Morris is going to have to show up on September 12 … in Superior Court.”

He also blasted Ryan for refusing to address the issue:

“We are still waiting for [Ryan] to comment on this unfortunate incident … Maybe now that there’s criminal charges we might hear something from her. I hope sincerely that she does comment and I hope she does condemn this. This is unacceptable,” Kratovil said. “Not in our country, we have freedom of the press here.”