Independent social media journalist Teebs Auberdine was hit with projectiles on the legs and ankle fired by federal agents while covering protests in downtown Portland, Oregon on July 24, 2020.
Protests had been held in Portland on almost a nightly basis since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
The Portland protests 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 on July 23.
Early on July 24, Auberdine was standing on the sidewalk across Southwest Third Avenue from the courthouse when federal agents came out from behind the fencing to push protesters back, Auberdine told the Tracker.
Auberdine said federal agents were firing projectiles to drive protesters away, and a flash-bang grenade went off less than a foot away from her, slightly below their waist to the side. She said another projectile hit her in the ankle, causing bruising and swelling.
Auberdine later posted a photograph on Twitter of the black pants she was wearing that night, which were coated in residue and white powder she said was from the crowd control munitions federal agents used.
Auberdine said she was wearing a black bulletproof vest with the word “press” spelled in large white letters on the front and back. She also carried a microphone.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has coordinated the federal presence in Portland, didn’t respond to a request for comment about the incidents.