U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Democrat and Chronicle photographer hit with projectile during Rochester protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
September 4, 2020
Rochester, New York


Was the journalist targeted?
Courtesy Jamie Germano

Democrat and Chronicle photographer Jamie Germano's camera was coated with pepper ball powder during September 2020 protests in Rochester, New York. The residue burned his face each time he took a picture, he said.

— Courtesy Jamie Germano
September 4, 2020

Democrat and Chronicle photographer Jamie Germano said he was hit with crowd-control munitions while covering protests in Rochester, New York, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Demonstrators that night had marched to the city’s Public Safety Building in protest of the death of Daniel Prude, a 41-year-old Black man who died by asphyxiation while in the custody of Rochester police in March. Details surrounding his death came to light only after police body camera footage was released on Sept. 2. The protest was just one of many held across the nation throughout the summer in protest of police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Germano told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that the police rushed the protesters to push them back over the Court Street Bridge and then began with a volley of pepper balls. He said he was hit in the legs and hands, and pepper ball residue got on his camera, but he didn’t notice until he’d gotten home that night. Each time that he lifted the camera to his face to take a picture, he said, his eyes and face burned.

Germano said that he “was never trying to get in the way” and that he felt like “collateral damage” due to his closeness to protesters.

The Rochester Police Department did not respond to an emailed request for comment as of press time.

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.

Find all incidents in Rochester, New York, here.

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