U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Independent journalist Jon Ziegler injured by rubber bullet at Standing Rock

Incident Details

Date of Incident
January 18, 2017


Was the journalist targeted?
Jon Ziegler

Jon Ziegler, also known as "Rebelutionary_Z," at Standing Rock

— Jon Ziegler
January 18, 2017

Independent journalist Jon Ziegler, also known as "Rebelutionary_Z," was shot with rubber bullets while filming a police action against anti-pipeline protesters at Standing Rock, on Jan. 18, 2017.

Video recorded by Ziegler shows a line of riot police, armed with rubber bullet shotguns and carrying shields, approaching a line of protesters near a bridge. As the police officers approach, they begin shooting rubber bullets at the protesters, who crouch behind shields of their own.

"Go back to your camp!" the officers yell at the protesters.

"You're on sovereign territory," some of the protesters respond.

"They're firing on people for no reason, at this point," Ziegler reports in the video. "They're now just taking potshots at people!"

"It's Jon Ziegler!" one of the officers yells.

A few seconds later, Ziegler is hit by rubber bullets.

Ziegler continued live-streaming for the next few minutes, as he called for a medic and described his injuries, even holding his bloody hand in front of the camera.

"I'm going to take the feed down so I can get some medical treatment, guys," he finally said. "Please wish me luck."

Video of police shooting at Jon Ziegler and protesters


In an interview with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Ziegler said that he was hit with rubber bullets twice in the leg and once in his right hand, which was holding his camera. One of the rubber bullets shattered the bone in his little finger, which required him to go to the hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota, for immediate reconstructive surgery. He underwent a second surgery and months of physical therapy. In all, Ziegler had to pay more than $30,000 in medical costs as a result of the injury from the rubber bullet.

Ziegler said that he believes that the police deliberately targeted him and aimed for his camera.

He also said that the police response was unprovoked. Earlier in the day, he said, a group of teenagers on the bridge had tossed snowballs at the police, but they had left hours before.

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