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June 1, 2020, 9:53 a.m.
Reporting & Production

U.S. police have attacked journalists at least 140 times since May 28

“Although in some incidents it is possible the journalists were hit or affected accidentally, in the majority of the cases we have recorded the journalists are clearly identifiable as press, and it is clear that they are being deliberately targeted.”

As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country after a white police officer allegedly murdered a black man, George Floyd, it’s becoming clear that attacks by police on journalists are becoming a widespread pattern, not one-off incidents. While violence against press-credentialed reporters covering the protests may still be dwarfed by violence against the American citizens who are protesting, incidents are piling up — and are getting more attention in part because the journalists being attacked include those from large mainstream news organizations.

A number of efforts are underway to try to track the attacks on journalists, which are often first documented on Twitter. Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters had documented 140 incidents by Friday morning. You can see a visualization of the violence against journalists here. Bellingcat notes:

Although in some incidents it is possible the journalists were hit or affected accidentally, in the majority of the cases we have recorded the journalists are clearly identifiable as press, and it is clear that they are being deliberately targeted. This pattern of violence against journalists is replicated in several cities, but appears most intense in Minneapolis.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker counts more than 300 total press freedom violations.

This post was last updated on Friday, June 5 at 11:00 AM ET.

Journalist Julia Lerner, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, took the picture illustrating this post as she was being chased and pepper-sprayed by police in Columbus, Ohio on May 30, 2020. Copyright Julia Lerner.

Laura Hazard Owen is the editor of Nieman Lab. You can reach her via email (laura_owen@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@laurahazardowen).
POSTED     June 1, 2020, 9:53 a.m.
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