U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Federal officers hit journalist multiple times with crowd-control rounds during Portland protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 29, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
July 29, 2020

Village Portland managing editor and multimedia journalist Cory Elia said he was hit with crowd-control munitions by federal officers while covering protests in downtown Portland on July 29, 2020.

The protests were among many demonstrations that broke out in response to police violence and in support of Black Lives Matter following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

The Portland protests, which had been held nightly since late May, had grown more intense as the presence of federal law enforcement increased in early July. A temporary restraining order on July 2 that barred the Portland police from harming or impeding journalists was expanded to include federal agents until July 23.

According to news reports, demonstrators initially gathered for a vigil outside Portland City Hall. A KGW article said they moved toward Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse, where they met federal officers firing crowd-control munitions, including tear gas and flash bang grenades.

That night, Elia tweeted photographs of his jacket marked with CS powder and a paint-like substance, writing: “For those wondering those were marking rounds that hit me in the crotch and collarbone during my livestream. These guys actually aimed for the open spaces on my armor.”

In a different tweet at 1:17 a.m. on July 30, he specified that his “only significant injury” from the night before was to his right collarbone, which appears to be bruised. “The ‘rubber bullet’ still hit with enough force to bruise through my leather where it struck,” he wrote. “I was also shot in the press badge which was lower on my chest.”

His press badge casing appears to have scratches and a part chipped off, but it is unclear if those marks were directly caused by the munitions. Elia has declined to comment and his lawyer didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“After assessing everything it appears I was hit four times total,” he wrote in another tweet accompanied by a photograph of an impact round.

The Department of Homeland Security, which coordinated the federal presence in Portland, hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

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