Man arrested after tussle with KATU photographer

Man arrested after tussle with KATU photographer »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. - A KATU photographer was attacked on the job on Wednesday while trying to shoot weather video outside a local school.

The incident happened outside of Laurelhurst School where KATU Photographer Bob Bullock was shooting video of people and their morning routines in the rain, including parents dropping their kids off at school.  The video was to be used in promotional videos for the Storm Tracker Weather Team and was shot legally from a public sidewalk.

And everything was fine until a man, later identified as Peter Fournier, approached Bullock.

"He yells something over to me and holds up a badge in a wallet," said Bullock.

Fournier told Bullock he shouldn't be shooting pictures of children.

"He says 'I'm pretty suspicious that you're here shooting kids' and I went 'I understand your concern, but I work for Channel 2," said Bullock (pictured at right).  "And as soon as I said I work for Channel 2, he says 'well, that station sucks.' "

Bullock said he tried to get away from Fournier.

"I carry my tripod, carry my camera on my shoulder and he grabs a hold of the tripod leg and gives me a jerk kind of thing," said Bullock.

What followed were expletives out of Fournier's mouth.

"And then he comes right at my face and tries to rip the camera off my shoulder," said Bullock.  "I held onto it, he wrestled me to the ground and he's ripping off the viewfinder.  He rips it off, and these used to be connected, and he turns around and spikes it as if it's a football. On cement."

Video excerpts. *Note: This video clip shows portions of the altercation. The entire video from the incident was edited for brevity and to remove expletives that were directed at KATU's photographer.

"It was pretty scary to watch," neighbor Shanan Whitlatch told us by phone. "If he's using the excuse that he's protecting the children or whatever it is, there were no children anywhere."

Fournier was arrested for assault, malicious mischief and impersonating an officer. Our photographer ended up with bruised ribs and a cut up hand.
We talked to Fournier's wife on the phone and she accused our photographer of throwing the first punch, although we told her that is not what the video showed.

Fournier and his wife live in a 10,000-square-foot house known as the Bitar Mansion, which used to be the Lebanese Consulate. Outside their home sits a patrol car (Fournier used to own a residential security company). 

Police records show Fournier was excluded from Laurelhurst Park in February after using a stun gun on a juvenile in the park. The records also show he was wearing his security uniform at the time and admitted to police "there was a question as to whether I had exceeded my authority by approaching the suspects in a public park, which they indicated was not in my jurisdiction. I agreed to contact emergency dispatch in the future." 

Police think Fournier overstepped his bounds, again, in Wednesday's incident.