By Ken Stone
Updated at 7:55 p.m. Jan. 19, 2018
Nearly three months after being whacked in the face by a cameraman at a border-wall press conference, Jean Guerrero of KPBS reports having achieved a measure of justice.The assailant’s employer wrote Guerrero, 29, to say it had investigated her complaint, found company violations and taken “appropriate action to address the reported conduct, including disciplinary action.”
On her blog, Guerrero wrote that she was relieved the company took action, “which I hope will increase the safety of reporters in the field.”
Her 446-word post Jan. 11 — three days after being informed by email — didn’t reveal the media outlet of the man who swung his camera into Guerrero’s face as they jockeyed for position at the Otay Mesa news conference.
But Guerrero told Times of San Diego that her Oct. 26 attacker wasn’t a local journalist.
“I feel comfortable telling you that the assailant did not work for a local news station but was national,” she said.
KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo said, “We are satisfied with the steps the employer says they took to investigate and ultimately discipline the employee.”
Guerrero posted an image of part of the Jan. 8 email informing her of the action. But she opted to blank out the name of the media company.
“The employer did not ask me to do that,” she said Friday. “I never wanted to release the name of the employer or the assailant because I do not see how that would help anyone.”
The employer wrote Guerrero: “As we previously explained [redacted] internal investigation constitutes a confidential personnel matter, and as such we cannot provide you with specific details. You can appreciate the sensitive nature of employment matters and our obligation to keep specific details confidential.”
The media outlet said it appreciated Guerrero coming forward.
“[Redacted] is committed to creating and maintaining a positive workplace environment, which extends to interactions with other media professionals,” the email said, “and we can only do so if persons like you notify us when they perceive that a [redacted] employee has acted inappropriately.”
Despite the lack of specifics, Guerrero said in her blog she trusted the discipline means the man who assaulted her “will think twice before again resorting to violence against other women, journalists, people in general.”
She added: “While I reported my assailant to the Sheriff’s Department as well, ultimately, it is enough for me to know that the man’s employer took action to alter his violent behavior.”
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department didn’t respond to earlier requests for information on the battery report.
In November, Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio called the incident “a personal matter, and we don’t look to deal with personal issues through our office.”
On Friday, Guerrero said she didn’t intend to press charges.
“I am satisfied with the outcome of this process,” she said via email. “My objective was to make sure my assailant was held accountable, through formal processes, so that he and others would learn that violence is unacceptable.”
A rubber portion of the camera hit her, she said in a November blog post, and didn’t leave a mark or draw blood. But fighting tears, she backed away.
“My videographer, social media producer and I were among the only women in the crowd of male videographers, and I believe we were treated with violence because of our gender,” she said in a note sent to the attacker’s employer.
Guerrero demanded “prompt action for this crime,” seeking suspension or a reprimand. “Please notify me when that happens.”
Guerrero got the response email Jan. 8 while she and the same videographer she worked with in late October were in Colonia Las Torres, “where you can see the towering prototypes peeking over the existing border wall from Mexico.”
But she didn’t actually read the email until several days later, she wrote, “because nonstop news on my beat buried the message in my inbox.”
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: