Independent journalist shoved by law enforcement in Portland

August 30, 2020

Independent journalist Nicholas Lee said he was pushed by law enforcement officers while documenting protesters getting arrested outside the Penumbra Kelly Building, in northeast Portland, Oregon on Aug. 30, 2020.

Lee was documenting one of the many nightly protests held in Portland in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis on May 25. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

Law enforcement officers in Portland have targeted journalists since the outbreak of the demonstrations, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon. The ACLU suit led the city to agree to a preliminary injunction in July to not arrest, harm or impede the work of journalists or legal observers of the protests.

The Kelly building has been a repeated focus of demonstrators because it houses the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and some Portland Police Bureau units. The Aug. 30 protest was declared an “unlawful assembly” at 10:40 p.m. after protesters threw rocks and eggs at officers, according to the local KATU news station. Law enforcement officers pushed people to the west of the building, Lee told the Tracker.

Lee was covering a confrontation between protesters and law enforcement across the street at around 11 p.m. when the incidents occurred.

In a video posted to Twitter, an officer from the sheriff’s department is seen pushing back Lee, who was wearing a helmet and backpack marked as “press,” while telling him to “back up.” Lee can be heard responding, “I’m on the sidewalk.”

“[The officer] pushed me into a bush,” Lee said.

The MCSCO didn’t respond to a request for comment. The PPB has said it wouldn't comment on incidents involving journalists covering the protests, citing continuing litigation in the ACLU case.

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

Related Incidents

Journalist shoved, threatened by armed individual at pro-police rally in Portland

November 19, 2020
Videographer Garrison Davis was shoved by armed pro-police demonstrators, including one who bumped the journalist’s smartphone with a rifle butt while he covered a Nov. 19, 2020, rally in downtown Portland, Oregon, the journalist tweeted and told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.Protests had been held In Portland on almost a nightly basis since late May in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The …

Photojournalist’s camera damaged during arrest in Portland

November 5, 2020
Freelance photojournalist Clementson Supriyadi was assaulted and arrested by Oregon State Police while covering a protest in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 5, 2020.In Portland, protests had been held on almost a nightly basis since late May 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.At around 8 p.m., …

Independent journalist shoved by law enforcement officers while covering protests

November 4, 2020
Garrison Davis, an independent journalist, said he was pushed by law enforcement officers in separate incidents while covering demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 4, 2020.Davis was documenting two protests in progress; one group was calling for every vote cast in the U.S. presidential election to be counted, while another expressed a combination of dismay with the electoral system and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests had been held in Portland on almost a nightly basis since the …

Vice News journalist shoved by law enforcement officers while documenting Portland protests

November 4, 2020
Documentary filmmaker Lance Bangs was pushed by law enforcement officers while covering demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 4, 2020, according to videos posted on social media.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 BLM protests across the country.There were two main demonstrations in Portland on Nov. 4, with one group …
More related incidents