U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist struck on chin with tear gas canister during Denver protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 29, 2020
Denver, Colorado


Was the journalist targeted?
REUTERS/Alyson McClaran

Protesters gather in Denver, Colorado, on May 28, 2020.

— REUTERS/Alyson McClaran
May 29, 2020

Hart Van Denburg, visuals editor for Colorado Public Radio, was struck on the face with a tear gas canister fired by Denver police while covering protests in the city on May 29, 2020.

Protests that began in Minnesota on May 26 have spread across the country, 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.

During the protests, police fired a tear gas canister that hit Van Denburg on the chin. He posted a selfie to Twitter that night documenting his bruised chin, and expressing gratitude to those who shared milk with him to dampen the effect of the tear gas.

Details regarding precisely where in Denver the incident occurred were not immediately available, and Van Denburg — who covered the protests again the following day — did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Requests for comment on this incident sent to the Denver Police Department were not immediately returned.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists being 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].