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Iowa news crew verbally assaulted by distraught mother

A television news crew was verbally assaulted Wednesday morning by the distraught mother of a 28-year-old man who was fatally shot by police earlier in the week.

The incident was captured on video by KCCI-TV (Channel 8) photographer Zachary Hayes near the scene of the officer-involved shooting.

In the video, the woman — who was not identified by name — can be heard yelling profanities at KCCI reporter Emma Victor. The profanities were obscured in a version of the tape run by the station Wednesday morning as part of KCCI’s news broadcast, though the station said the obscenities were racial epithets directed at Victor who is African-American.

Victor, who appeared to grimace nervously during the ordeal, was praised by her colleagues across the country for her handling of the situation.

In a report published online, KCCI described the incident as an “attack” on the news crew, though the story acknowledged neither Victor or Hayes were physically injured.

“The safety of our crews is critically important as they cover stories affecting our communities,” KCCI General Manager Brian Sather said in a statement published online by the news outlet. “This morning Emmy and Zach demonstrated the utmost professionalism in the face of a very difficult, emotionally-charged situation.”

Earlier in the morning, Victor had been covering an incident involving a man who was fatally shot by police on Monday. That man, identified by the Des Moines Register as 28-year-old Michael Disbrowe, was said to have been threatening people with a gun.

When police arrived on scene, Disbrowe reportedly drew his weapon from his waistband, prompting officers to open fire. KCCI reported officers repeatedly told the man to drop the gun before they shot him. Witnesses backed that version of events in comments given to the Register.

Disbrowe died at the Boone County Hospital from his injuries. The hospital was briefly placed on lockdown after upset family members became agitated in the emergency room waiting area, the Register said.

The officers who shot Disbrowe have been placed on administrative leave but have not been identified.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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