Local Memphis.png

Journalist assaulted while covering protest in Memphis

June 12, 2019

WATN-TV photographer Patrick Niedzwiedz was struck while covering protests over a fatal officer shooting in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 12, 2019.

U.S. marshals shot and killed Brandon Webber, a 20-year-old Black man, in the Memphis community of Frayser, sparking violent protests. In a Facebook post in response to the protests, Memphis Mayor John Strickland wrote that “At least 24 officers and deputies were injured—-6 were taken to the hospital. At least two journalists were injured.”

Rebecca Butcher, a WATN-TV reporter tweeted that Niedzwiedz had been struck while filming the protest.

Butcher told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that after their third live broadcast for the 9 p.m. show, Niedzwiedz was still filming when he was struck in the side of his face by someone in the crowd. The video he was filming during the altercation shows a group of protesters pushing into the frame, and one attempting to grab the microphone from Butcher’s hand.

Butcher said that since Niedzwiedz’s eye was still to the camera he did not see who struck him. The blow did not break the skin and his camera equipment was not damaged.

Mayor Strickland’s media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Tracker.

Related Incidents

Commercial Appeal journalist pushed by Memphis police officer at protest

June 1, 2020
Reporter Katherine Burgess of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee, was pushed by a police officer with a riot shield while covering a Black Lives Matter protest at Memphis City Hall on North Main Street on June 1, 2020.The protest, in response to the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, began in the daylight hours of May 31 at the National Civil Rights museum. In a long-running thread on Twitter, Burgess posted video and text showing the movement …

Journalist assaulted, pushed to the ground while covering protest in Memphis

June 19, 2019
WREG-TV reporter Luke Jones was hurt while covering protests over a fatal officer shooting in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 12, 2019. U.S. marshals shot and killed Brandon Webber, a 20-year-old Black man, in the Memphis community of Frayser, sparking violent protests. In a Facebook post in response to the protests, Memphis Mayor John Strickland wrote that “At least 24 officers and deputies were injured—-6 were taken to the hospital. At least two journalists were injured.” Jones wrote on Twitter that …

Independent journalist assaulted while documenting anti-vaccine protest

December 18, 2021
Independent videographer Sean Beckner-Carmitchel was assaulted while documenting an anti-vaccination protest in Los Angeles, California, on Dec. 18, 2021.Beckner-Carmitchel told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he arrived shortly after 1 p.m. to document an anti-vaccination mandate protest outside Getty House, the official home of Los Angeles' mayor. Approximately 10 protesters were gathered outside the residence, Beckner-Carmitchel said, and he initially intended on only documenting the demonstration for 30 minutes or so.An individual approached the journalist at around 1:20 p.m., upset …
More related incidents