Camera equipment stolen from Chicago Tribune photographer during protests

May 30, 2020

A photographer for the Chicago Tribune was shoved and had her cameras stolen by two unidentified men while covering protests in downtown Chicago, Illinois, on the night of May 30, 2020.

The protests were sparked by a video showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a black man, during an arrest on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Tribune photographer Erin Hooley said she had been photographing protests and altercations between demonstrators and the police when looting broke out. While photographing the looting of a CVS at the intersection of South Wabash and East Monroe Street around 9 p.m., she said she overheard a woman yell, “Get that bitch’s cameras!” Suddenly, she said, two men shoved her to the sidewalk, grabbed the cameras she had strung around her neck and shoulder, and ran off. Hooley said she was bruised but otherwise uninjured in the attack.

After picking up both herself and her press badge, Hooley said she walked down the street to see if the men had dropped the cameras but they were gone. She called her editor to report what had happened and then went home. Hooley said she saw police officers around the corner from where she was attacked but that they didn’t appear to be intervening to stop the looting.

Hooley said her cameras were owned by the Tribune company, which did not ask her to file a police report. The photographer said a Canon representative sent her loaner gear and that she returned to cover the protests in the following days.

According to the photojournalist, what bothered her most was the loss not of physical equipment, but rather several hours’ worth of photographs she had taken prior to the assault. Hooley said she had transferred about eight images to her editor while still in the streets, but that the rest were gone. “I was pretty angry about losing that stuff because it’s very historical,” she said. “It robbed me of being able to share this crazy time we are living in, and that’s very frustrating.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred total incidents of journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas or had their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country related to the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Find all of these cases here.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

Related Incidents

Photojournalist’s camera damaged during arrest in Portland

November 5, 2020
Freelance photojournalist Clementson Supriyadi was assaulted and arrested by Oregon State Police while covering a protest in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 5, 2020.In Portland, protests had been held on almost a nightly basis since late May in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the May 25 death of George Floyd. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.At around 8 p.m., …

Independent videographer arrested during Los Angeles protest

November 4, 2020
Independent videographer Sean Beckner-Carmitchel was arrested while filming election-related protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 4, 2020.Beckner-Carmitchel told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that protesters had planned to march from City Hall downtown to Pershing Square a little less than a mile away. By approximately 7 p.m., most of the crowd had dispersed and Beckner-Carmitchel said he thought he could head out for the night.A few unmarked police cars moved in …

Federal agents shoot independent videographer three separate times with crowd-control munitions, damage camera

October 29, 2020
Independent journalist Mason Lake said he was shot three separate times with crowd-control munitions by federal law enforcement officers while he was covering a protest outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland, Oregon, in the early hours of Oct. 29, 2020. The pepper balls also damaged his video camera, he said.Lake, a videographer, was covering one of the many Portland protests against law enforcement violence that first erupted after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in …
More related incidents