On Monday morning, June 4, about 18 people stormed the offices of WBAI/Pacifica radio in New York City to protest the rightward trajectory of the station.
Kevin Prichard, an NYC Indymedia reporter, alleges that he was assaulted by WBAI morning show co-host, Paul DiRienzo. Prichard was later hospitalized with an injury to his finger.
According to reports on counter-Pacifica discussion boards, DiRienzo has claimed that he was the one assaulted by an Indymedia person that morning, that he was hit in the eye by that person and had his glasses bent in the process.
Paul DiRienzo has been a participant on various counter-Pacifica discussion boards but lately has become very critical of the counter-Pacifica movement. There is an alleged transcript of a phone conversation between DiRienzo and a WBAI listener who called during WBAI's recent fundraising marathon in which DiRienzo seems quite agitated and threatens himself to cancel the Democracy Now! program.
Counterclaims of assault are not unusual these days at Pacifica since Edwin Johnston was arrested at a KPFT/Pacifica protest in Houston on March 23 based on false claims of assault by station management. As a result of Johnston's false arrest, new claims of assault were alleged by Pacifica management against former WBAI producer, Ken Nash from an incident in early March when his show was interrupted by station manager Utrice Leid. Nash was interviewing Representative Major Owens at the time. Leid now alleges that Nash elbowed her during that incident.
Edwin Johnston has two court dates in mid-June. A jury trial is set for June 18 in Municipal Court agaisnt a false claim of simple assault filed by KPFT station manager, Garland Ganter. A plea hearing is set for June 13 in County Court against a false claim of assault/bodily injury filed by Ganter's wife, KPFT employee Molly (O'Brien) Ganter.
A Press Statement from Kevin Prichard's Legal Team http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=6313&group=webcast
Report of assault of Indymedia reporter at WBAI http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=6289&group=webcast
More Info on WBAI Demonstration http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=6287&group=webcast
Violence from KPFT (Johnston arrest) http://www.hal-pc.org/~edi/kpft.html
Houston Committee for People's Radio webpage http://www.hal-pc.org/~edi/hcpr.html
NY Newsday blurb on incident (bottom story) http://www.newsday.com/coverage/current/news/tuesday/nd2972.htm