U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Detroit Free Press reporter shoved by police while covering protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 31, 2020
Detroit, Michigan


Was the journalist targeted?
May 31, 2020

Detroit Free Press reporter Darcie Moran was shoved by Detroit police near their headquarters while covering protests in the city on May 31, 2020, Moran told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Moran said that she was with her colleague Branden Hunter at the time when she received a text from another colleague stating that the police public information officer wanted all media to move to a designated area. But Moran said she didn’t know where that was.

Moran said that Hunter told her he heard police announce that they were going to use tear gas, so they decided to find the media area and stay there.

“We went over there [when] some officers came and started pushing us,” Moran told CPJ, a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. “They were pushing us back toward Detroit police, which was confusing because there were police on both sides so we didn't really know where to go.”

The journalist said she kept saying that they were members of the media, but the officers persisted.

Detroit Free Press colleague Mark Kurlyandchik, who was standing nearby, was charged by police at this time, Moran said. “I was concerned he was about to go head first into a ticket vestibule,” she said. The Tracker has documented Kurlyandchik’s assault here.

Moran said she was pushed, but “not far,” despite yelling that they were members of the media. “I don’t care,” one of the officers shouted back, according to Moran.

The Detroit Free Press reporters were stuck as police jostled them around, Moran said.

“It was difficult because we wanted to see the direct interactions between protesters and police, but we were now kind of stuck behind police,” Moran said. “We did some interviews with some stragglers there and saw some arrests taking place.”

At one point that evening an officer began yelling that Moran and several of her colleagues were going to be arrested for being out. Moran said that they replied that they’re members of the media, but the police officer said that didn’t matter.

Moran said they observed the detention of reporter Christine MacDonald that evening and were able to make it back to the newsroom. The Tracker has documented MacDonald’s arrest here.

The Detroit police did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.

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