South Carolina News Crew Attacked

Three women and a man who were upset that a WSPA Spartanburg, S.C., TV reporter was gathering news on the arrest of a family member attacked the reporter Tuesday in Union, S.C.

WSPA reporter Charmayne Brown was set upon by the three women. Her cameraman, Ti Barnes, came to her defense amid a flurry of punches and was pushed by the man. Neither was seriously injured.

The accused are white and both WSPA employees are black. WSPA said race was involved in the altercation.

According to the WSPA Web site: “Charmayne says she was across the street from the victim's house when family members began yelling at her to leave. Charmayne says the group was also yelling racial slurs at her and her photographer. She says one of the women in the group then rushed at her, punched her and dragged her to the ground.”

Brown commented: "I just had to try to defend myself. People were coming from everywhere. It was an uneasy situation for the both of us, trying to fight off a mob attacking us."

WYFF Greenville, S.C., filmed the altercation.

Michael Shane Howell had been arrested for the murder of his grandfather. Howell’s relatives were angry with WSPA’s reporters for covering the story and demanded that they leave the area.

Tousha Smith, Billie Joe Taylor and Trina Vinson were being held at a Union jail for assault and battery charges. Ronald Lee Harris was later arrested for pushing cameraman Barnes.

WSPA took Brown off the story “to ensure her safety.”

The stations operate in the No. 36 Nielsen DMA. Media General owns WSPA.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.