And this happened after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with following the Friday arrest of a CNN crew on live television and other reports of violence against reporters, including freelance photographer Linda Tirado, who said she is blind in her left eye after being shot at by police.
Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Chris Serres tweeted Sunday that he was twice ordered at gunpoint to hit the ground.
Serres wrote that he was, “Warned that if I moved ‘an inch’ I’d be shot. This after being teargassed and hit in groin area by rubber bullet. Waiving a Star Tribune press badge made no difference.”
His Star Tribune colleague Ryan Faircloth’s car was also hit by what were “likely rubber bullets,” which shattered his window and left him with cuts on his arm and brow.
Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessey-Fiske said in a video message on Twitter that she and about a dozen other press had identified themselves as such and that Minnesota State Patrol officers still “fired tear gun cannisters on us at point blank range”.
It wasn’t just Minneapolis where reporters found themselves in harm’s way. Saturday there were journalist injuries reported in cities like New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, Detroit and Denver. Although the situation is fluid and developing, the RTDNA has counted more than 60 incidents across the country in the past 48 hours in which reporters have been, “injured, assaulted or harassed by either protesters or police officers.”
In Chicago, Vice reporter Michael Adams had a similar interaction to Velshi and Hennessey-Fiske when police raided the gas station he and his crew were sheltering at and said they “didn’t care” that they were press.
“After shouting press multiple times and raising my press card in the air, I was thrown to the ground,” Adams wrote on Twitter. “Then another cop came up and peppered sprayed me in the face while I was being held down.”
In Washington D.C., Huffington Post reporter Philip Lewis tweeted that he was hit in the leg with rubber bullets.
Detroit Free Press news director Jim Schaefer said several of their journalists showing their media badges were pepper-sprayed by Detroit police.
And in Denver, 9NEWS reporter Jeremy Jojola tweeted that he got hit with “something fired by police” even though he was holding a camera and lights.
Since the protests began, eight AP journalists have been hurt, though none seriously. Three have been hit by rubber bullets, one was punched, another was knocked down and others fell.