U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

CNN news team harassed, assaulted while covering Brooklyn Center protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
April 14, 2021

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
April 14, 2021

CNN senior national correspondent Miguel Marquez and his news team were harassed and assaulted by a group of individuals while documenting protests in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 14, 2021. The journalists ultimately had to leave the area.

Demonstrators had gathered in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department to demand justice in the killing of Daunte Wright, a Black man, who was fatally shot by a white police officer on April 11.

CNN’s public relations office declined to make Marquez or members of the news crew available for comment, but Marquez spoke about the incident during a segment on Reliable Sources, the outlet’s weekly program about the media hosted by Brian Stelter.

“There were a few protesters at the gates to the police station yelling at the police,” Marquez said. “And also then there was the phalanx of law enforcement behind the gates, and we wanted to sort of show all of that in our live shots.”

The crew had moved over, Marquez said, to accommodate the wishes of some of the protesters who said they did not want to be filmed.

“And then another smaller group of protesters came around and started sort of shouting us down,” he said. “They wanted us to move to a place where we couldn’t see the protesters that were taunting the police, and that’s when this water bottle gets thrown at one of our guys.”

Washington Examiner reporter Nicholas Rowan captured that moment in a clip, which he posted to Twitter shortly before 8 p.m.

After the bottle hits the crew member squarely in the head, he stumbles backward and appears to trip on the curb, falling to the ground. At least one individual can be heard mocking him for falling, while another calls for a medic.

“We started trying to figure out how to make an exit because it was just getting too intense there. But we didn’t want to look like we were running,” Marquez said. “That’s when somebody hit me with a water bottle and then we just started moving toward our cars.”

Marquez said that as the news crew left, multiple individuals continued to pelt them with whatever objects that they could find until they were able to get into their cars and leave the area. Rowan continued to film as the crew left just after 8 p.m.; in his clip, individuals can be seen throwing objects, including what appear to be eggs, at the crew.

In a tweet posted at 9:45 p.m., Marquez wrote that he and his team were fine and that they would continue to cover the response to Wright’s death.

“I cannot blame them for being angry,” Marquez told Stelter. “But a lot of people are very angry, suspicious of the press, the corporate media. All those things come into it at these places.”

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.

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