Andrew Buncombe, the chief U.S. correspondent for the British Independent newspaper, was struck by crowd-control munitions and caught in tear gas while covering protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 30, 2020.
Protests began in Minnesota on May 26, sparked by a video showing a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest the day before. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital. An 8 p.m. curfew was put into effect on May 30.
At about 8:40 p.m., a group of Minnesota state police and National Guard officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a group of protesters, which also hit several journalists covering the demonstrations.
Buncombe told the Committee to Protect Journalists — a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker — that he and several other reporters were trying to retreat from the area where police were advancing on protesters when police fired a non-lethal round that hit his backpack, leaving a white powder behind. He posted a photo of the backpack to Twitter.
After journalists separated themselves from the crowd, police released more tear gas in their direction, despite journalists repeatedly showing their press credentials and saying they were press, Buncombe said.
More than three dozen journalists were assaulted, arrested or had equipment damaged while covering protests that night. The Minneapolis Police Department, Minnesota State Police, and Minnesota National Guard did not reply to emailed requests for comment about these incidents.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas or who had their equipment damaged in the course of reporting. Find all incidents related to Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests here.