Windows of a WHDH 7News van were smashed while a news team from the local TV station was covering protests in Boston, Massachusetts, in the early hours of June 1, 2020.
Demonstrations in Boston began as protesters gathered in cities across the country, sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody. Thousands of people joined Boston protests on May 31 against police brutality and racial injustice. Late that night, after hours of peaceful demonstrations, protests escalated into violence as some participants smashed windows and set fires across the city, WBUR reported.
Nathalie Pozo, a reporter for 7News, posted on Twitter that her news team had covered the protests for six hours and was wrapping up its work for the night when the station’s van was attacked. Video she posted shows the vehicle driving by a group of people when the driver’s side window suddenly bursts, spraying glass into the cab. Another object hits and breaks the windshield.
A voice can be heard asking if the driver is okay, and the driver responds, “Yeah, I got glass in my eye.”
In her tweet, Pozo said the news crew was okay but noted that after hours of covering peaceful protests, the demonstrations “took a turn, from powerful messages to vandalism & looting.”
WHDH 7News did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
According to a report about the incident filed with the Boston Police Department and reviewed by the Tracker, the news station’s van was surrounded by about 30 people, who were trying to break into the vehicle. The windshield and windows on the passenger and driver’s side were smashed before the van was able to drive away, the document states.
7News reported that the window was shattered when someone threw a large rock. A photograph included in Pozo’s video shows a rock and shards of glass on the seat of the van. Other photographs show graffiti on the side of the van and another window of the vehicle entirely missing.
The police report noted that one person had been pelted with glass and would seek medical attention independently.
Det. Sgt. John Boyle, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department, said that the incident remains under investigation as of February 2021 and no arrests have been made.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists being assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas, or having their equipment damaged while covering these protests across the country. Find these incidents here.