U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist shot at with foam rounds while covering Minneapolis protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 30, 2020


Was the journalist targeted?
REUTERS/Adam Bettcher

A Minneapolis police officer clears a cameraman from near the department’s Fifth Precinct on May 30, 2020. Photojournalist Adam Bettcher, who captured this image, was shot at with a projectile after he identified as press.

— REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
May 30, 2020

Freelance photojournalist Adam Bettcher said State Patrol troopers fired foam rounds at him while he was covering protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 30, 2020.

A curfew was in effect following protests sparked by a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the United States since the end of May.

Bettcher, who was on assignment for Reuters, told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that State Patrol troopers fired at him at around 11 p.m. near the Fifth Precinct.

Bettcher said he was holding up his press credentials and shining a flashlight at himself as he approached a police line, yelling out, “I’m press! I’m press.” Bettcher said he was wearing body armor and a denim shirt that had an embroidered patch that said “PRESS” on his chest. He said he told the troopers he was trying to reach his car and they yelled at him to “go home!”

Bettcher replied that he was trying to get home and asked them how he could reach his car, and they shouted at him to use Google Maps, he recounted. Seconds later, one of the officers fired a projectile that whizzed by his head, he said. “I heard it hit the wall behind me,” he said. At this, he left the area. “I didn’t go back to see what they shot at me, but it was a foam baton round from the sound of it.”

A request for comment about this incident sent to the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minneapolis Police Department were not returned.

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].