Community Has Back of Chelsea Journalist Who Broke Wrist Covering Charlottesville | chelseanow.com

Community Has Back of Chelsea Journalist Who Broke Wrist Covering Charlottesville

Sandi Bachom is recovering from a broken wrist and other injuries sustained on Aug. 12 while covering the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo by Donna Aceto.

BY COLIN MIXSON | Pepper spray, urine bombs, and even a broken wrist did not deter Sandi Bachom from documenting the hatred and violence that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. When Bachom heard of trouble brewing down south, the longtime Chelsea resident spent $300 of her own money to fund a bus trip. Arriving at 6 a.m. on the morning of Sat., Aug. 12, she immediately began filming a series of live reports that left locals riveted.

“I am kind of an anomaly. Not too many 73-year-old women do what I do,” said the independent video journalist who survives on Social Security checks as she shoots footage of local protests and demonstrations for an ongoing documentary project regarding Donald Trump’s presidency.

Her work covering the white-nationalist rally took Bachom from the aborted demonstrations at Emancipation Park to smaller, riotous skirmishes between Nazis and anti-fascists that flared up across the city.

Throughout it all, it was never clear exactly where the blows were coming from. Bachom believes the cloud of pepper spray that stung her eyes came from a Nazi hidden behind a crowd of alt-right protestors, while the mystery of who left her drenched in reeking, black-dyed urine remains unsolved.

“I don’t know who did the urine thing,” she said. “But that was really disgusting.”

And while Bachom was holding her nose, her friends and followers back home were glued to her Facebook feed, devouring the day’s events through the raw footage she posted online, according to one friend.

“She was definitely getting more attention than usual,” said Christina Hansen, a Hell’s Kitchen resident and friend of Bachom. “She has a huge number of people that have been following what she does. So when she says she’s going to Charlottesville, people want to know what’s going on down there.”

Which is why when Bachom suddenly stopped updating her page with fresh clips of Nazi demonstrations later in the day, worry set in back home.

“People were watching it and then all of a sudden things were happening, and then she wasn’t posting,” Hansen recalled. “It turns out she wasn’t okay.”

Bachom had tripped rushing to film an altercation between a black man and a group of Nazis, leaving her with a broken wrist and bleeding from the head.

Paramedics rushed the videographer to the same hospital where victims of James Alex Fields Jr. — who allegedly killed one woman and injured 19 with his car — were taken.

The doctors and nurses there had seen better days, Bachom said.

“They took me to the same hospital as the car accident,” she said. “They’ve never seen anything like that. They were all in shell shock.”

Dressed for confrontation, Nazi and white nationalist demonstrators march through Charlottesville. Photo by Sandi Bachom.

Fortunately, Bachom — described by Jon Katz on his bedlamfarm.com blog as “a brave and ferociously honest videographer, journalist and patriot”) — had Hansen watching her back, and the Hell’s Kitchen woman encouraged Bachom’s Facebook followers to contribute to her PayPal account to ensure she wasn’t left penniless by the ordeal.

The community’s help has been a godsend, Bachom said.

“Somebody sent me $200, I didn’t know who they were,” she said. “I really had no money at all.”

Follow Bachom on Facebook at facebook.com/SandiBachom. Donate through her PayPal account: getreel@earthlink.net. Visit her YouTube channel here.

Cornel West (fourth from left) with Charlottesville clergy. Photo by Sandi Bachom.

 

Sandi Bachom, just after she was drenched in urine by an unknown assailant. Photo courtesy Sandi Bachom.