U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Independent journalist says they were shoved by police while covering protests in Portland

Incident Details

Date of Incident
June 15, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
June 15, 2020

Independent journalist Tuck Woodstock said police shoved them while covering a protest in Portland, Oregon, on June 15, 2020.

Woodstock was covering one of the many protests that have broken out across the U.S. in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the May 25 death of George Floyd. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

In Portland, nightly protests over Floyd’s death began on May 29, prompting Mayor Ted Wheeler to declare a curfew that lasted three days. Even after the nightly curfew was lifted, journalists continued to be targeted by police, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon in June. Woodstock is a plaintiff in the suit, which resulted in a temporary restraining order and an agreement by the city of Portland in July not to arrest, harm or impede any journalists or legal observers.

Around 8:30 p.m. on June 15, Woodstock started covering a rally, organized by Rose City Justice, demanding funding cuts for the Portland Police Bureau ahead of an upcoming Portland City Council budget vote, according to The Oregonian newspaper.

The protesters marched from southeast Portland to Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown. After the rally concluded, Woodstock followed protesters to the Multnomah County Justice Center, a regular meeting point for protesters.

Just after 11 p.m., police declared a civil disturbance and warned the crowd to leave the area or be subjected to force or arrest. Around the same time, Woodstock tweeted that shots rang out as police used crowd-control munitions to disperse the protesters. About 20 minutes later, Woodstock tweeted that a protester had been shot in the head by some type of munitions in an area outside the dispersal zone.

Soon after, Woodstock tweeted about getting shoved. A video Woodstock posted later on Twitter appears to show the incident. “Police were aiming guns at a protester next to me, and I got caught in the protester’s umbrella and then slammed into by police and then dropped my phone and then picked it up to see the protester get jumped on by many police,” Woodstock says in the tweet.

Woodstock declined to comment further about the incident. Derek Carmon, a spokesman for the PPB, said he was unable to comment on this incident due to the ongoing ACLU litigation.

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