Reporter sprayed with unknown chemical at anti-vaccination protest

Opponents of a measure requiring nearly all California school children to be vaccinated gather on the west steps of the state Capitol after lawmakers approved the bill.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A Sacramento radio reporter said she was sprayed in the face with an unknown chemical on Thursday as she covered the protest of a hotly contested vaccine bill in front of the state Capitol.

Kaitlin Lewis, a reporter and weekend anchor at NewsRadio KFBK, said she felt fine after being sprayed by a demonstrator, but was upset by the personal violation.

The protest took place after the California Assembly passed a bill, SB 277, which would require vaccinations for nearly all students entering kindergarten and remove exemptions based on personal or religious beliefs.

Protesters gathered on the west steps of the Capitol building, carrying signs that read “No Forced Vaccination” and “Our Kids, Our Choice.”  


While reporting on the demonstration, Lewis noticed a female protester standing about four feet from the steps who was spraying liquid into the air from a bottle. Lewis asked the protester what the liquid was, she said. The protester said it was a “mood changer,” Lewis said.

When Lewis asked again about the bottle, the protester put the bottle two inches from Lewis’s face and sprayed it, she said.

“I was like, ‘What did you just spray in my face?’” Lewis said.

Lewis took a picture of the protester and reported the incident to the California Highway Patrol. She still does not know the contents of the bottle, she said.


The vaccination bill now heads to the Senate for concurrence, which is expected. It would then be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration.