Benjamin Dagley is an Ohio man accused of confronting MSNBC reporter Shaquille Brewster in Mississippi while he was on air talking about Hurricane Ida, Gulfport Police say. He is wanted on multiple charges, and Gulfport Police say he is on probation in his home state of Ohio.
He was identified after police asked for tips from the public. Video of August 30, 2021, incident went viral on social media. Brewster was not injured.
Brewster, an NBC News and MSNBC correspondent, was doing a live shot in the hurricane’s aftermath yesterday when a man jumped out of a white pickup truck and ran toward him, shouting and seeming to rush up against the reporter.
The live shot quickly cut to MSNBC host Craig Melvin, who appeared startled as he said, “Hey, hey, hey, hey. We’re going to check back in with Shaq Brewster just to make sure all is well. There’s a lot of crazy out there. A lot of crazy.”
Things got very hairy for NBC News reporter Shaquille Brewster during a live Hurricane Ida report from Gulfport, MS.
Some guy jumps out of a pickup truck and angrily confronts Brewster’s crew, prompting a shaken Craig Melvin to express extreme concern for his colleague. pic.twitter.com/v1tYnUsqTj
Brewster later tweeted, “Appreciate the concern guys. The team and I are all good!,” though Melvin later wrote, “This is beyond unacceptable and disgusting. @shaqbrewster was trying to do his job on a beach in Gulfport, MS. Shaq is ok. This guy who nearly attacked him clearly is not.”
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MSNBC president Rashida Jones later said in a statement, “Shaq Brewster is an exceptional journalist. Like the consummate professional, he did not let someone intimidate him from doing his job. We’re glad he and the team are safe, and we couldn’t be more proud and supportive of their work.”
An arrest warrant charging the 54-year-old Dagley with two counts of simple assault, one count of disturbance of the peace, and one count of violation of emergency curfew was issued on August 31, 2021, Gulfport Police said in a press release.
According to police, Gulfport authorities contacted the Cuyahoga County Adult Probation Department after reviewing Dagley’s criminal history and determining a possible probation violation in Ohio.
“One of the conditions of Dagley’s probation included restrictions on travel,” police said. Dagley lives in Wooster, Ohio.
Ben Dagley was arrested in August 2017 in Ohio in an incident at a company he once owned, Cleveland Plating, according to Cleveland.com. Dagley, then 50, was accused of breaking into the electroplating company and drilling holes into tanks containing dangerous chemicals.
One employee was hospitalized for exposure to toxic chemicals, police said at the time, adding that the incident could have caused an “environmental disaster.”
According to court records in multiple counties in the state, Dagley’s criminal history in Ohio includes other arrests and traffic violations. Gulfport Police said Dagley is on probation in Cuyahoga County but did not specify how long he is on probation for. Officials in Cuyahoga County could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to Cuyahoga County court records, after his conviction in the 2017 case, Dagley was ordered to complete an anger management program. Along with the warrant for his arrest in Mississippi, Dagley also now has an active warrant in Ohio accusing him of a probation violation, court records show.
The warrant was issued at the request of his probation officer, and Judge Michael J. Russo said Dagley left the state of Ohio without permission.