Emmy Victor and Zachary Hayes, two journalists for Iowa news station KCCI, were reporting across the street of an officer-involved shooting, when suddenly a woman charged towards them.
She made a beeline for Victor, a Black woman, yelling and screaming and telling the anchor, “Get out of here you stupid “f— n—!”
Victor stood in disbelief, but did quip back, “Don’t ever.” The whole moment was captured on camera. The woman then walked off, but aggressively turned around to push Victor and knock over Hayes’ tripod.
She was escorted away by an unknown woman. Hayes and Victor can be heard in the background, threatening to call the police.
KCCI said police identified the woman as the mother of the shooting victim. Michael Disbrowe, 28, was shot to death in Boone on Tuesday after he refused officers’ orders to put down his gun.
Social media quickly chimed in, saying that Hayes and Victor were true professionals and applauding the fact they did not meet the woman’s vile disruption with violence.
KCCI’s General Manager Brian Sather issued a statement on the attack:
“The safety of our crews is critically important as they cover stories affecting our communities.This morning Emmy and Zach demonstrated the utmost professionalism in the face of a very difficult, emotionally-charged situation.”
Victor and Hayes posted supportive messages to one another on Twitter:
I identify with Victor on three levels – we are journalists, we are both Black, and we are women. The White woman charging over to Victor, the lone Black woman who stood non-threatening, to bleed out her rage, looked very deliberate and familiar to me.
I don’t know Victor or her temperament, but I saw myself when she warned the racist screaming in her face, telling her, “Don’t ever.”
Personally, I would have resorted to violence and all I can say to explain myself is that maybe I have not reached a certain threshold of maturity.
Had the moment went a different way, many who applauded her may have tipped the scales. Her non-reaction may have been the bar, turning Victor from “professional” to “ghetto,” from “reporter,” to “violent suspect.”
If Victor acted out, her whole career would be reduced to a violent interaction caught on camera and she may have lost her job, along with the credibility she tirelessly worked for.
But I saw it. Behind Victor’s caution, there was pain and rage.
Within all of the congratulations in regards to her behavior, I wondered: would she receive the same positive attention had she pushed the woman back or yelled obscenities? Had they struck her down, would they continue to applaud her stoicism? I can’t say, but history tells me – probably not.
As Black people, we are expected to consume these personal, violent attacks like we digest cake. We are told that we cannot act if someone decides to be ruthless and trifling. As violence begets violence against us, we are continually told and showed that it is not fine to simply be.
I watched Victor and I understood what she faced. I walked away feeling more Malcolm than Martin after the video and I have to believe that in this instance, my sentiment was appropriate.
SOURCE: KCCI | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter