Arrest warrant issued for man seen accosting NBC’s Shaquille Brewster

Gulfport Police say Benjamin Eugene Dagley "assaulted" Brewster during the reporter's Hurricane Ida coverage.

In a moment on Monday that shocked and startled MSNBC viewers, a white man rushed into an on-screen, on-air live shot of NBC correspondent Shaquille Brewster reporting on Hurricane Ida and appeared to attack him. 

We now know that man was Benjamin Eugene Dagley of Ohio. He was recently charged with two counts of simple assault, one count of disturbing the peace and one count of violating an emergency curfew for his shocking actions, according to police. Police in Gulfport, Mississippi, where Brewster was accosted before an audience, have issued a warrant for Dagley’s arrest.

In a moment Monday that shocked and startled MSNBC viewers, Benjamin Eugene Dagley (above) rushed into an on-screen, on-air live shot of NBC correspondent Shaquille Brewster reporting on Hurricane Ida and attacked him. (Gulfport Police Department)

A press release from the Gulfport Police Department notes that Dagley “assaulted” Brewster during the reporter’s coverage of the hurricane. 

The alleged assaulter is a resident of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and the police’s press release said its “investigation revealed that Dagley has left the area and is no longer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” The department took special note in its statement and on social media “to thank the public for coming forward and helping identify Dagley.”

As previously reported, Brewster threw his live shot back to MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin, who was in the studio on Monday, after the man since identified as Dagley aggressively approached him while he was reporting on Hurricane Ida. 

“Craig, I’m going to toss it back to you because we have a person who needs a little help right now,” Brewster said at the time. 

Dagley is seen in the background pulling up in a white pickup truck, then rushing towards the NBC News crew. He gets right up in Brewster’s face, and the anchor attempts to push him back by pressing his hand to the man’s chest.

While much of what he said was unintelligible, the accoster appeared to be demanding that Brewster report the news “accurately.” 

Melvin, at the desk, was noticeably shaken, saying, “Hey! Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Ummmm, we’re going to check in with Shaq Brewster just to make sure all is well. There is a lot of crazy out there. There is a lot of crazy.” 

He later came back to tell viewers: “You probably saw or heard a few moments ago, one of our correspondents was disrupted by some wacky guy during his live shot there in Mississippi,” Melvin said. “Pleased to report that Shaquille Brewster is just fine. Shaq is okay.”

Melvin also addressed the altercation on Twitter, writing, “This is beyond unacceptable and disgusting. [Brewster] was trying to do his job on a beach in Gulfport, MS. Shaq is ok. This guy who nearly attacked him clearly is not.”

For his part, Brewster also briefly addressed the incident on Twitter, writing, “Appreciate the concern guys. The team and I are all good!” 

Dagley is reportedly no longer in Mississippi, and authorities are asking for help in locating him. He is said to be traveling in a white 2016 Ford F150 bearing the Ohio license plate PJR1745. The Gulfport Police Department is asking anyone who may spot him to contact their local law enforcement. 

This article features reporting by theGrio’s Ny Magee

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