U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

CNN headquarters in Atlanta vandalized during protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 29, 2020
Atlanta, Georgia

Equipment Damage

Equipment Broken
REUTERS/Dustin Chambers

Protesters stand in front of a vandalized CNN logo at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 29, 2020.

— REUTERS/Dustin Chambers
May 29, 2020

On May 29, 2020, CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, was targeted by individuals who threw objects, broke windows and graffitied the large “CNN” logo out front.

The crowd had gathered in Centennial Park earlier in the day, CNN reported, but by about 7 p.m. individuals were damaging the news organization’s headquarters.

The protests in Atlanta were part of a national response to a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the U.S. since the end of May.

As the crowd became rowdier on May 29, they set an Atlanta Police Department vehicle on fire and a SWAT team was called in, CNN reported. As police faced off with protesters, someone threw either a firework or a flash-bang grenade over a line of officers. It detonated in front of CNN correspondent Nick Valencia and his crew as they reported from the scene.

Despite that dramatic incident, no CNN employees were harmed, according to a CNN spokesperson.

“The protests were not directed at CNN and they were not protesting us/CNN, but our office in downtown Atlanta is a landmark location,” Bridget Leininger, CNN senior director of communications said.

A CNN report did note that some protesters were “chanting anti-media rhetoric.” In one social media video someone can be clearly heard yelling, “Fuck CNN!”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas or had their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country. Find these incidents here.

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