CBS News sound engineer struck in arm by rubber bullet while covering Minneapolis protests

May 30, 2020

A member of a CBS news crew was struck with a rubber bullet 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.

Shortly after the 8 p.m. curfew began, police fired a rubber bullet that hit John Marschitz, a CBS sound engineer, in the arm, according to tweets from CBS correspondent Michael George.

“We were not standing within 500 feet of any protesters at the time, and we had credentials displayed and cameras out,” George wrote.

Marschitz told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that the news crew had retreated down the street and into the parking lot where the team's car was parked after police began deploying tear gas into the crowd. The protesters kept moving in the opposite direction, and were several hundred feet away when officers began shooting crowd-control munitions at the news crew.

"My colleagues and I were fired upon without warning and [were] clearly identifiable as journalists," Marschitz said. "We were no threat to law enforcement and in no way impeding them from doing their job. Then they just began firing rubber bullets at us."

One of the rounds struck Marschitz in the arm; a second round struck a light on one of the team's cameras, but did not damage the equipment.

When asked whether he felt police targeted the crew, Marschitz said, "I don't think they cared, they just shot at us."

Marschitz told the Tracker in November 2021 that his arm still hurts where he was struck more than 17 months later.

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.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect comment from John Marschitz received via email on June 15, 2020, and via call on Nov. 8, 2021.

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

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