SD Photog Brutally Attacked For Photographing Discovery Chan Reality

Carlos Miller

SD Photog Brutally Attacked For Photographing Discovery Channel Reality Show

Ashi Fachler, who operates the Flickr group “Photography is not a crime”, was brutally attacked after snapping a couple of photos on a Discovery Channel film set last month.

At least two men, possibly three, punched him, then stomped and kicked him after he was down.

A woman that he had photographed, the third on the right in the picture below, also joined in the attack by stomping on him with her heels, according to Fachler’s girlfriend, who was not at the scene but recounted what Fachler told her.

However, a recent witness statement implicated the woman in the center.

The incident took place on the set of the reality show Biker Wives in San Diego’s Gaslamp District inside a restaurant called The Lincoln Room.

At no time, did Fachler step on the restaurant property. The women he had photographed were sitting on the outside patio.

A version of Biker Wives is already being aired in Australia.

Fachler, who was hospitalized for a night and is still recovering from the Jan. 27 incident, did not speak on the record because it is a pending legal matter.

But his girlfriend, Stephanie Santos, gave Photography is Not a Crime an exclusive interview on the matter Tuesday morning.

“He came around the corner and started shooting,” she said. “A woman came up to him and asked if he was with the press. Before he could answer, a gorilla of a man started pushing and shoving him away from the scene.

“Then somebody came up behind him and suckered punched him. Then hit him two or three more times. They did a real number on his rib cage.”

Fachler ended up having to dial 911 on his own phone because nobody else offered to help him.

A police officer who responded to the scene ordered Fachler to walk a block to the ambulance, even though he had suffered a sprained ankle.

The incident was apparently caught on video by the cameramen on set, but Discovery has refused to give up the footage.

Surveillance cameras inside the restaurant may also have captured the incident, but San Diego police have not made at attempt to retrieve the footage.

Fachler’s attorney, Warren Treisman, has collected some witness statements with some people saying Fachler was attacked and others claiming Fachler swung his camera at the security guards.

While it’s hard to imagine a serious photographer swinging his camera at anybody unless his life was in danger, the conflicting reports could easily be settled with the existing footage.

Besides the Discovery Channel, the other production company involved with Biker Wives is Bischoff and Hervey.

Fachler, who is a member of the National Press Photographers Association, had his membership photo identification in his pocket at the time of assault. He has also been in contact with Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the NPPA.

Osterreicher said he has been talking to the San Diego Police Department about this matter, but they don’t appear to be making it a priority.

“No matter who it is, whether it is police or somebody else, it always disturbs me when somebody is interfered with, especially assaulted, for no other reason than they were trying to take photos on a public street,” he said.

“I’m sure there is some surveillance video and those people have to be put on notice to ensure that it’s not recorded over.”

Considering how lackadaisical San Diego police have been in responding to this incident, I’m curious to see how close of a relationship they have with the filmmakers.

After all, that was the case on the Rock of Ages film set in Fort Lauderdale last year.

And it’s not too different than what took place on a Dog the Bounty Hunter film set in Hawaii when a journalist was attacked by a member of the film crew, then by a Maui cop.

Last month, Fachler had the following photo featured in Pacific San Diego’s special “Photography Issue.” It can be seen on page 55 of this PDF.


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