The Slatest

Minneapolis Police Injure, Arrest Journalists Covering Protests

A journalist is seen bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets near the 5th police precinct following a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 30, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A journalist is seen bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets near the fifth police precinct following a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd on Saturday in Minneapolis. Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

Throughout the protests over the death of George Floyd, journalists have been injured and arrested covering the unrest. That trend continued Saturday, and there were examples across the country, but journalists on the ground in Minneapolis expressed dismay at how law enforcement officials seemed to be targeting members of the media. In the Friday night protests, Linda Tirado was shot in the left eye while covering the protests in Minneapolis. Tirado, who believes she was shot with a rubber bullet, said she has permanently lost vision in her left eye. “Starting to see a pattern of police targeting the media in Minneapolis,” tweeted Brandon Stahl, a reporter with local NBC affiliate KARE 11. Chris Serres, a reporter for the Star Tribune, wrote that he was “twice ordered at gunpoint by Minneapolis police to hit the ground” and officers warned that if he moved “an inch” he’d be shot and showing his press badge made no difference.

Tom Aviles, a cameraman with CBS affiliate WCCO-TV was hit with rubber bullets and arrested while covering the protests in Minneapolis on Saturday night. Video aired by the station showed how police fired at Aviles despite the fact that he repeatedly told them he was with the media. Even though he was getting out of the area as he was told to do, Aviles was eventually pushed to the ground and taken into custody. Aviles continued to shoot cellphone video after he was arrested. He was released later in the evening.

One of the most shocking videos of the evening came from Michael Anthony Adams, a reporter with Vice. Adams tweeted that he was sheltering at a gas station when police entered, and despite the fact that he was raising his press credential to the air, he was “thrown to the ground” and another cop fired pepper spray on his face while he was “being held down.” Earlier, Adams wrote that a group of police officers “had weapons trained on a group of us” even though everyone held up their press credentials.

Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the Los Angeles Times posted a video on Twitter in which she says that Minnesota State Patrol fired tear gas at a group of journalists at “point blank range” even though they had identified themselves as press. She also posted a photo of her injured leg.

Michael George posted a video showing how Minneapolis Police fired on a CBS News crew even though they were nowhere near any protesters, all had their badges out, and had visible cameras. He also posted a video showing how the crew’s sound engineer was hit with a rubber bullet.

MSNBC posted a video on Twitter showing how police fired tear gas and flash bangs very close to where journalist Morgan Chesky was reporting with a camera crew.

Ryan Faircloth, a Star Tribune reporter, posted photos of his injuries when what appeared to be a rubber bullet shattered a window of his car.

Attacks on the press were not limited to Minneapolis. A day earlier, for example, the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker said Sunday morning that it was working to “verify and document at least 68 instances of journalists assaulted, arrested and equipment damaged from protests the last two nights.”