Independent journalist Laura Jedeed said she was covering protests in downtown Portland, Oregon, when federal agents threw tear gas canisters toward her at least twice in the early hours of July 22, 2020.
Protests had been held in Portland on almost a nightly basis since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. 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 wasn’t expanded to include federal agents until July 23. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering BLM protests across the country.
On the night of July 21, the “Wall of Moms” and thousands of other demonstrators converged on the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. courthouse downton for a number of confrontations with the federal agents that continued past midnight, according to the local KPTV news station.
Jedeed, a contributor to Portland Monthly and Willamette Weekly, live-tweeted protest scenes from outside the courthouse, where federal law enforcement officers were stationed. Using the Twitter handle @defendpdx, Jedeed reported throughout the night that federal agents repeatedly fired tear gas canisters at protesters, while demonstrators started fires and threw fireworks and tear gas canisters back toward the courthouse.
In a tweet that is no longer available online, Jedeed said “At least twice, the feds launched a tear gas cannister directly at me. I was not hurt, but others aren't so lucky.”
Jedeed confirmed the events to the Tracker.
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.