U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Freelance photojournalist’s camera struck while covering LA protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
June 23, 2024


Was the journalist targeted?

Freelance photojournalist Jon Putman, far left, can be seen documenting clashing protests outside the Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles on June 23, 2024, as an individual grabs his camera and pushes it away.

June 23, 2024

Freelance photojournalist Jon Putman had his camera struck while documenting clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters in Los Angeles, California, on June 23, 2024. At least nine journalists were assaulted while covering the violence that day.

The conflict began after the Southern California chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement called for demonstrators to meet at noon outside the Adas Torah synagogue in the heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson neighborhood in west LA to protest the alleged sale of occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Multiple journalists told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that scuffles, brawls and exchanges of pepper spray broke out in the streets nearby between the protesters and counterprotesters.

Individuals from both sides — including a rabbi and security volunteers from the Jewish community — attempted to intervene and prevent the violence from escalating. CNN reported that Los Angeles Police Department officers established a perimeter around the synagogue.

In footage captured by independent videographer Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, Putman is visible in a black T-shirt and baseball cap photographing from the street as dozens of people mill around. At 0:23 in the clip, a man with a face bloodied after a fight can be seen knocking Putman’s camera aside with his hand. The same individual similarly attempted to prevent photojournalist David Swanson from photographing him earlier.

Putman did not respond to requests for additional comment about the incident.

The LAPD said in a news release that officers were investigating two reports of battery at the protest and that one individual had been arrested for having a spiked post. A spokesperson for the department told the Tracker via email June 27 that they have no further information.

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