Eric Kriesel, a photojournalist for CBS 58 television, said he was struck in the leg with a brick or rock while covering protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23, 2020.
Protesters began to gather hours after police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in the back seven times on a residential street in Kenosha. Demonstrations against police violence and racism had been held across the country, including in Wisconsin, since late May.
Kriesel told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he and a reporter with CBS 58 arrived to cover the police shooting and the community’s reaction in the evening shortly after Blake was shot. He said a couple of hundred people had gathered to protest. Police had put up police tape around the perimeter of the scene, and a few other police cars were parked outside of the perimeter, he said.
Kriesel said protesters began jumping on the police cars, damaging them and breaking their windshields. Someone threw some sort of projectile that hit a police officer and knocked the officer to the ground, he said. Other officers retrieved the one who had been hit, who Kriesel said appeared to be unconscious, and police began to leave.
Kriesel and the CBS 58 reporter started to walk away from the scene, ahead of a live broadcast at 9 p.m., he said. They were walking alongside the police vehicles that were driving away, and protesters were throwing objects at the cars.
As he walked, Kriesel said, an object struck him in the lower left shin. He said he believes a brick or a rock ricocheted off of the back windshield of a police car into his leg, and that he didn’t think it was directed at him.
Kriesel said he had a bruise and swelling on his leg for about a month. He had the injury checked at a hospital, but said he didn’t require any treatment.
Kriesel said he was carrying a large and noticeable professional television camera at the time he was hit. He couldn’t recall whether he had his ID card issued by CBS 58 on him at the time, but said he typically carries the credentials when reporting on situations like the demonstration in Kenosha. The Kenosha Police Department didn’t return a request for comment.
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.