CNN political analyst April Ryan has been silent regarding a local New Jersey news reporter who appeared to be violently removed from an event where the liberal pundit was speaking, but the alleged victim has called for Ryan to condemn her bodyguard’s behavior now that criminal charges have been filed.
“She’s been silent about the unacceptable and illegal behavior of her bodyguard, Joel Morris, and we are still waiting for her comment on this unfortunate incident,” New Brunswick Today editor Charlie Kratovil said on Monday.
“Maybe now that there are 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… not in our country, we have freedom of the press,” he added.
Kratovil spoke outside the New Brunswick Municipal Court in New Jersey on Monday after Ryan’s security guard, Joel Morris, was charged with assault. Ryan has regularly criticized President Trump and members of his administration for how the press is treated, which made the incident in question puzzling to many media watchdogs.
“When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech,” Ryan said on Aug. 3 while the CNN pundit addressed the crowd at the fourth annual New Jersey Parent Summit. Her remark apparently prompted Morris to forcibly eject Kratovil from the event and the incident was captured on video.
Ironically, Ryan has been a critic of President Trump’s treatment of the media and even penned a 2018 book titled, “Under Fire: Reporting from the front lines of the Trump White House,” which focuses on what it’s like to be a reporter “under fire.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Back in August of 2018, Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter that she had received death threats and hired a bodyguard.
Kratovil said that police found probable cause to charge Morris with three different criminal offenses stemming from the incident. Kratovil filed a complaint of harassment and assault against Morris, in addition to a third complaint related to the theft of his camera.
“Joel Morris stole the camera and hightailed it out of the room. One thing led to another and I ended up being assaulted after retrieving the camera but now Mr. Morris is going to have to show up on Sept. 12… that theft charge is an indictable, third-degree crime in the state of New Jersey,” Kratovil said. “I want to thank everyone who has been supportive of me throughout this difficult time. It’s a shame that we even have to be at this point.”
Kratovil then read a statement from the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists
“It is never under any circumstances permissible for a person aggrieved at being photographed or videotaped to lay hands on the journalist, or attempt to take away the journalist’s equipment,” Kratovil said, citing the NJSPJ.
Kratovil said it’s “sad” that anyone needs to be reminded not to lay hands on a journalist, but added that he feels it’s “super sad that we have to remind another journalist, April Ryan.”
According to NJ.com, the Aug. 19 complaint “alleges Morris took Kratovil’s arm and shoved it behind his back, injuring his forearm and shoulder” and “harassment and theft charges stem from Morris taking the camera.” A reporter also tweeted the document, but New Brunswick Municipal Court did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for the documents.
During the alleged assault, Morris appears to approach Ryan as she was speaking at the podium and whispered something to the CNN pundit. Ryan appears to nod and then pauses for almost 30 seconds until Morris grabs Kratovil's camera equipment and tripod and walks out of the ballroom.
“Don’t touch my camera, please. Put that down. Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir," Kratovil told the bodyguard as he followed him out of the room.
As Kratovil and Morris begin causing a scene, Ryan explains to the crowd, “When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech." Kratovil said another journalist was recording her speech.
Security camera footage from the hotel lobby appears to show Morris forcibly pushing Kratovil toward the exit.
"Once I got the camera back, I was concerned for my physical safety and I asked for hotel security. I was hoping they would maintain order and maybe document the theft of my camera and any damage that may have occurred to it as a result," Kratovil previously told Fox News. "I was thinking, 'Wow, this guy is really crossing the line here.' At the same time, I was trying not to fall down face first while also trying to protect the camera, and yelling for bystanders to call the police as this was happening."
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.