U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Camera kicked by individual during Rhode Island protest

Incident Details

September 23, 2020

WLNE-TV ABC 6 cameraman Paul Duddy had his camera kicked by an individual during a protest in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sept. 25, 2020, according to social media posts by station employees.

An ABC 6 news crew had been following a protest march against the Sept. 23 announcement that a Kentucky grand jury would not be filing charges against police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old unarmed Black woman who was shot and killed during a botched police raid on her Louisville apartment on March 13. The announcement rekindled racial justice protests across the country, including in Providence.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting arrests, assaults and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

At 10:11 p.m., ABC 6 reporter Brittany Comak tweeted a video showing an individual in white sneakers breaking off from the march, running toward the lens of a camera as it filmed the scene and kicking it.

“Many of the protesters were hostile to the media. This happened walking the Brown University Campus. We are okay. Please remember we are just trying to do our jobs,” she wrote.

She later wrote on Twitter that the kick was “dangerously close to my photographer’s head.”

Kim Kalunian, a reporter at WPRI 12 who was also at the march, reported seeing the incident as well.

“One of the protesters just kicked the lens of a camera being manned by a photojournalist from @ABC6,” she wrote on Twitter at 9:23 p.m. “We heard them saying they should smack our cameras just moments before.”

Shiina LoSciuto, another WPRI 12 reporter, tweeted: “It sounded like a few people were threatening to scratch our cameras because we are ‘not on their side.’”

A later tweet from ABC 6 reporter Amanda Pitts identified the cameraman whose camera was kicked as Paul Duddy.

Staff at ABC 6 and WPRI 12 did not respond to requests for comment.

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