Journalists attacked by police, demonstrators while covering George Floyd protests


Existentist (Flickr)

Members of the media have been attacked while covering George Floyd protests

Ole Olafson , Reporter

“I have never been fired at by police, until tonight.”

These were not the words of a rioter or someone breaking into a store during the recent protests surrounding the police killing of George Floyd, but a journalist attempting to do her job.  Molly Hennessy-Fiske is a New York Times reporter who was part of a group of journalist who Minneapolis police reportedly shot with tear gas canisters at point –blank range and were wounded by rubber bullets on Saturday night as they shouted “press” and waved their credentials.  Hennessy-Fiske wrote that she was bleeding from several wounds to her legs and her photographer was hit in the face according to an article from Wednesday’s Washington Post.

On Friday, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his camera crew were arrested by members of the Minnesota State Patrol while they were on the air.  They identified themselves as members of the press and showed their credentials but were arrested anyway.  They were not given a reason for their arrest and were released about an hour later.

“These journalists work ethically – and often in harm’s way – to bring important news to the public.  The reporters’ unwarranted arrest is inexcusable, the Society of Professional Journalists said in a statement regarding Jimenez’ arrest.  The organization called the arrests a “clear abridgement” of press freedoms.  Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz took full responsibility, saying “there is absolutely no reason something like this should happen.”

According to a USA Today article published May 31, photographer Linda Tirado was struck in the left eye with a rubber bullet and permanently blinded in Minneapolis.

Reuters reported that same day, that over a three-day period, around two dozen acts of violence had been reported against members of the press, according to organizations that track press violence.

“The Hill” reported Sunday that more than 60 journalist have been “attacked, arrested or harassed by protesters or police in the past 48 hours.”

While many acts of violence came at the hands of police, some journalists have been attacked by protesters as well.

Fox News correspondent Leland Vittert and his crew were attacked by protesters outside of the White House on Friday.

Members of the media were also reportedly attacked by protesters in Birmingham, Brooklyn, and Pittsburgh among other cities, and CNN’s Atlanta headquarters was damaged by protesters.