An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for a man who angrily confronted an NBC News reporter live on TV while covering Hurricane Ida in Gulfport, Mississippi, screaming, “Report accurately!” in his face.
Benjamin Eugene Dagley, 54, of Wooster, Ohio, will be charged with two counts of simple assault, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of violating an emergency curfew, the Gulfport Police Department said.
Dagley, who is on probation for an incident in Ohio involving a break-in at a metal plating shop, may also be in violation of travel restrictions that are part of his probation, the police said.
The Gulfport police said Dagley had left the area by Tuesday and was traveling in his white Ford F-150 pickup truck. His location was unknown as of Tuesday night, the police said.
It was unclear why Dagley had been in Gulfport — about 1,000 miles from his home — a day after a major hurricane hit the area. Phone calls placed to a number listed as belonging to Dagley were not returned Tuesday night.
A live report from NBC News shows that he whipped his pickup truck off the road and into the backdrop of Shaquille Brewster’s shot as the reporter described the effects of Hurricane Ida, which had made landfall on the Gulf Coast on Sunday.
Dagley can be seen stepping out of his truck and running toward Brewster, who pauses and says, “I think we even have a random person going around.”
“You’re reporting this accurately, right?” Dagley says.
Brewster shifts so that the water is his backdrop and continues to speak to the camera. Dagley can be heard yelling in the background, although it is unclear what he is saying, and he is not visible in the shot.
A few seconds later, the scene appears to escalate.
“I’m going to toss it back to you,” Brewster tells Craig Melvin, an anchor for NBC. “We have a person who needs a little help right now.”
Dagley is seen moving toward Brewster as he screams in his face, “Report accurately!” and bumps into him before NBC cuts away. Melvin then tells viewers that the network will check in with Brewster later and that “there’s a lot of crazy out there.”
Later in the broadcast, Melvin says Brewster is OK.
Brewster, who did not respond to emails and requests for comment on social media Tuesday night, said in an Instagram post that he was “overwhelmed by the love and support” after “the wildest moment I’ve had on air.”
“Our team joked about it afterwards, but it was without a doubt as scary for us as it was for you all watching,” he said. “While that one report was interrupted, we were right back up in the next hour and will continue reporting as we are here to do.”
Cleveland.com reported in 2017 that Dagley had been arrested on suspicion of breaking into an electroplating shop that he once owned and drilling holes into tanks holding dangerous chemicals. He pleaded guilty to vandalism, inducing panic and attempted assault, according to court records from Cuyahoga County.
After the confrontation in Gulfport, Melvin said on Twitter, “This is beyond unacceptable and disgusting.”