More than two dozen incidents of journalists experiencing violence while covering demonstrations for George Floyd were reported
Journalists across the United States have been targeted by police while covering the George Floyd protests.
They faced arrest, detention, and violence, including being pepper sprayed and shot by rubber bullets.
Linda Tirado, a photojournalist, was shot in the eye by a rubber bullet while covering an anti-police brutality protest in Minneapolis on Friday night. She said afterwards in a twitter message that she is permanently blind in her left eye as a result of the incident, reports Vox.
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 did not respond to requests for comment about her injury.
Linda was one of more than two dozen incidents of journalists experiencing violence while covering recent demonstrations for George Floyd.
Another reporter Kaitlin Rust and her camera crew were shot pepper balls by a police officer in Louisville on Friday night.
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
Hours later, Louisville Metro Police apologized to WAVE 3 for the incident.
In Minneapolis, Ali Velshi and his MSNBC camera crew were shot at by police live on the air while covering a peaceful protest.
“There was absolutely no provocation. The police just drove up, split the crowd in two and started firing in both directions,” said the reporter.
Ali Veshi and his CNN crew come under fire from #Minneapolis police with tear gas and rubber bullets.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
Sarah Belle Lin, reporter and photojournalist, was hit in the thigh by a rubber bullet fired by police while covering protests in Oakland, California, on Saturday evening.
“I was hit by the police by in the inner thighs. I am injured. I repeated my First Amendment rights,” said the reporter in a Twitter message.
Oh, and here’s the bruise. Courtesy of Contra Costa County Sheriffs. pic.twitter.com/8n03RXghCc— Sarah Belle Lin (@SarahBelleLin) May 31, 2020
LA Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske reported that Minnesota State Patrol troopers fired tear gas at reporters and camera crews in Minneapolis on Saturday.
“Minnesota State Patrol just fired tear gas at reporters and photographers at point blank range,” said Molly in a Twitter message.
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
In Detroit, several Detroit Free Press reporters were pepper sprayed by police on Saturday, including one reporter 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
The incidents received widespread condemnation, adding to the growing sense of injustice in the country.
“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 US need to instruct police not to target journalists and ensure they can report safely on the protests without fear of injury or retaliation.”