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A journalist is seen bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds near the Fifth Police Precinct in Minneapolis, on May 30.
Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

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Police targeted journalists covering the George Floyd protests

Though police were responsible for most of the violence, some protesters got in on the act too.

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.)

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.

Ali Velshi and his MSNBC camera crew were shot at by Minneapolis police live on the air while covering a peaceful protest.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Susan Ormiston was hit with rubber bullets and tear gas fired by Minneapolis police live on the air Saturday.

Two members of a Reuters TV camera crew were hit by rubber bullets in Minneapolis Saturday.

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.

A man with a video camera and a press helmet was filmed by CNN getting shot with rubber bullets by Minneapolis police Saturday.

CBS News reporter Michael George reported that police in Minneapolis fired rubber bullets at his crew, striking sound engineer John Marschitz in the arm.

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.

On Rodeo Drive in Santa Monica, California, an ABC7 reporter and his crew were hit with tear gas Saturday.

Several Detroit Free Press reporters were pepper sprayed by Detroit police Saturday, including one who held up a press badge while police targeted him.

KSTP reporter Ryan Raiche was with a group of media in Minneapolis before they were tear gassed and pepper sprayed by police Saturday.

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 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.

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.

Journalist Simon Moya-Smith was pepper sprayed and arrested after being told “Roll on your side, Mr. Journalist,” by a Minneapolis police officer Saturday.

CNN commentator Keith Boykin tweeted that he was arrested by NYPD Saturday.

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.

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.

CBS5 reporter Briana Whitney was grabbed by a man on live television while reporting on protests outside Phoenix Police Department headquarters.


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