On Friday night, photojournalist Linda Tirado was shot in the eye by a rubber bullet while covering an anti-police brutality protest in Minneapolis — one of more than two dozen incidents of journalists experiencing violence while covering the recent demonstrations.
Tirado says she’s permanently blind in her left eye. (She is thankful she uses her right eye to take photos, so the injury is not career-ending.)
an update: I am permanently blind in my left eye, and the docs absolutely refuse to let me go back to work for they say six weeks. I’m definitely not allowed to be near smoke or gas.— Linda Tirado (@KillerMartinis) May 30, 2020
Usually if I had to stay home I’d spend a lot of time amplifying folk but reading hurts today
The Minneapolis Police Department and Mayor Jacob Frey’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment about Tirado’s injury.
Across the country journalists have been targeted by police, facing arrest, detention, and violence, including being pepper sprayed and shot by rubber bullets. Journalists were targeted by police in the Ferguson protests in 2015 and during the civil rights era, and that pattern of violence and arrests continued into this weekend’s protests.
“Targeted attacks on journalists, media crews, and news organizations covering the demonstrations show a complete disregard for their critical role in documenting issues of public interest and are an unacceptable attempt to intimidate them,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, program director at the nonprofit advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists, in a statement Saturday. “Authorities in cities across the U.S. need to instruct police not to target journalists and ensure they can report safely on the protests without fear of injury or retaliation.”
Police shot at journalists with rubber bullets
A reporter and her camera crew were shot at by police in Louisville. Vox’s Alex Ward has more detailed coverage of the Louisville incident here.
LIVE ON @wave3news - something I’ve never seen in my career.— Lauren Jones (@LaurenWAVE3TV) May 30, 2020
An armed officer shooting directly at our reporter @KaitlinRustWAVE and photographer @jbtcardfan during the protests in #Louisville.
My prayers are going out to everyone tonight.
Such a scary situation for all. pic.twitter.com/Ipg0DjFIXu
Ali Velshi and his MSNBC camera crew were shot at by Minneapolis police live on the air while covering a peaceful protest.
Ali Veshi and his CNN crew come under fire from #Minneapolis police with tear gas and rubber bullets.— Chad Loder (@chadloder) May 31, 2020
“There was absolutely no provocation. The police just drove up, split the crowd in two and started firing in both directions.” pic.twitter.com/GTXKU1fTdz
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Susan Ormiston was hit with rubber bullets and tear gas fired by Minneapolis police live on the air Saturday.
#GeorgeFloyd Protests: CBC in Minneapolis#BREAKING The curfew is in effect but protesters are still out so police started tear gas and rubber bullets at them.— Natasha Fatah (@NatashaFatah) May 31, 2020
People have been hit including our colleague, CBC Senior Correspondent Susan Ormiston. pic.twitter.com/N8XcXaAyHH
Two members of a Reuters TV camera crew were hit by rubber bullets in Minneapolis Saturday.
Minneapolis police here aiming directly at clearly identified journalists...— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) May 31, 2020
Two members of a Reuters TV crew were hit by rubber bullets and injured. https://t.co/cxFmi4QJoR pic.twitter.com/ORFeVxAOYN
Reporter and photojournalist Sarah Belle Lin was hit in the thigh by a rubber bullet fired by police while covering protests in Oakland, California, Saturday evening.
Oh, and here’s the bruise. Courtesy of Contra Costa County Sheriffs. pic.twitter.com/8n03RXghCc— Sarah Belle Lin (@SarahBelleLin) May 31, 2020
A man with a video camera and a press helmet was filmed by CNN getting shot with rubber bullets by Minneapolis police Saturday.
A man with a video camera and a PRESS helmet runs after being hit by... something... apparently some sort of pellet fired by police pic.twitter.com/OpH2Q60ry4— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 31, 2020
CBS News reporter Michael George reported that police in Minneapolis fired rubber bullets at his crew, striking sound engineer John Marschitz in the arm.
This is the moment Minneapolis Police fired on our CBS News crew with rubber bullets. As you can see, no protesters anywhere near us- we all were wearing credentials and had cameras out. Our sound engineer was hit in the arm. #cbsnews pic.twitter.com/UAy7HYhGnL— Michael George (@MikeGeorgeCBS) May 31, 2020
Police in Minneapolis are firing on us (press) with rubber bullets. Our sound engineer John Marschitz was hit. He is ok. We were not standing within 500 feet of any protesters at the time, and we had credentials displayed and cameras out. #cbsnews pic.twitter.com/Ai6Qd8gLjz— Michael George (@MikeGeorgeCBS) May 31, 2020
Police hit reporters with tear gas and pepper spray
LA Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske reported that Minnesota State Patrol troopers fired tear gas at reporters and camera crews in Minneapolis Saturday.
Minnesota State Patrol just fired tear gas at reporters and photographers at point blank range. pic.twitter.com/r7X6J7LKo8— Molly Hennessy-Fiske (@mollyhf) May 31, 2020
On Rodeo Drive in Santa Monica, California, an ABC7 reporter and his crew were hit with tear gas Saturday.
"We're getting hit by tear gas!" Live coverage from field reporters from @ABC7 in Los Angeles as protests rage through the luxury stores of Rodeo Drive.— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 31, 2020
LIVE UPATES: https://t.co/xJQvixJr2S pic.twitter.com/xw9ZO9yFYN
Several Detroit Free Press reporters were pepper sprayed by Detroit police Saturday, including one who held up a press badge while police targeted him.
Several of our @freep journalists got pepper-sprayed tonight by Detroit Police, one directly in the face as he held up his media badge. A photographer had her livestream camera slapped out of her hand by another DPD officer as she tried to do her job. This is not OK. See this: https://t.co/PMq8IAnawi— Jim Schaefer (@DetroitReporter) May 31, 2020
KSTP reporter Ryan Raiche was with a group of media in Minneapolis before they were tear gassed and pepper sprayed by police Saturday.
Myself, photographer, and producer just made it back to the car. We were with a group of media and thought we were in a safe spot. We kept saying we’re media. Police tear gassed and pepper sprayed the entire group. Everyone ran. It was insane. It happened so fast. pic.twitter.com/Wl3Fzzlsnw— Ryan Raiche (@ryanraiche) May 31, 2020
VICE News correspondent Michael Adams reported that police raided a gas station where several members of the press were taking shelter. He said police threw him to the ground and pepper sprayed him.
Police just raided the gas station we were sheltering at. After shouting press multiple times and raising my press card in the air, I was thrown to the ground. Then another cop came up and peppered sprayed me in the face while I was being held down. pic.twitter.com/23EkZIMAFC— Michael Anthony Adams (@MichaelAdams317) May 31, 2020
Police threatened and arrested journalists
On Friday morning, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested live on the air in Minneapolis. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias has more detailed coverage here.
HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias, who photos show with his press badge clearly visible to officers, was arrested while covering protests in Brooklyn Saturday evening. He was later released and in good condition, according to several of his HuffPost colleagues.
Confirmed that this is @huffpost reporter @letsgomathias getting arrested — I didn’t catch when they first apprehended him but it was incredibly violent. His press badge is clearly visible. pic.twitter.com/ob3FvEzkiK— Phoebe Leila Barghouty (@PLBarghouty) May 31, 2020
Minneapolis-based reporter Madeleine Baran tweeted that a Minneapolis police officer pointed a weapon at her and did not lower it when she identified herself as a reporter. The incident prompted her to leave and stop reporting on the protest.
A Minneapolis police officer pointed a weapon at me at @sfreemark’s heads, while we were standing on Nicollet and 32nd covering the protests. I yelled that I’m a journalist. He did not lower his weapon, so we ran. Calling it a night.— Madeleine Baran (@madeleinebaran) May 30, 2020
Journalist Simon Moya-Smith was pepper sprayed and arrested after being told “Roll on your side, Mr. Journalist,” by a Minneapolis police officer Saturday.
I was pepper-sprayed then arrested last night by Minneapolis PD even after identifying myself as a reporter MULTIPLE times:— Simon Moya-Smith (@SimonMoyaSmith) May 31, 2020
Cop 1: *checks press badge as I’m on the ground*
Cop 2: “Roll on your side, Mr. journalist.”
Cop 3: *loads me in the car, sees my press badge and shrugs*
CNN commentator Keith Boykin tweeted that he was arrested by NYPD Saturday.
The police locked me in tight zip ties that bruised my wrists. They held me in a van for an hour. Then a hot police bus for an hour. Then they took me— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 31, 2020
to 1 Police Plaza and held me in a jail cell with about 35 others with no social distancing and many of the others unmasked.
Police weren’t the only people targeting journalists this weekend
But it was unfortunately not just police targeting journalists over the weekend. Fox News reporter Leland Vittert and his crew were harassed, assaulted, and chased off the scene near the White House in Washington, DC, Friday. Their camera was broken in the process.
“Vittert and the crew were punched and hit with projectiles as they fled, and a Fox News camera was broken when a member of the mob tried to grab it.” https://t.co/scwxYvIb1s— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 30, 2020
A crowd surrounded, defaced, and smashed windows at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters Friday, though it should be noted there is a police precinct headquarters inside the CNN Center.
The police and security are now blocking the entrances to the CNN Center as the crowd's intentions had become clear.— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) May 29, 2020
This is view from the News 2 Chopper on their Live Feed:https://t.co/YBVCxZWGYR pic.twitter.com/KHPfFVOsKG
CBS5 reporter Briana Whitney was grabbed by a man on live television while reporting on protests outside Phoenix Police Department headquarters.
THIS IS NOT OKAY.— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) May 30, 2020
This is the moment I was intentionally tackled by this man while I was on air trying to report what was happening during the protest at Phoenix PD headquarters. I feel violated, and this was terrifying.
Let us do our jobs. We are trying our very best #azfamily pic.twitter.com/bHXwbnDVPB