U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist covering Portland protest shoved away from demonstration

Incident Details

Date of Incident
October 10, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
October 10, 2020

Independent journalist Melissa Lewis said she was harassed and assaulted by Portland police while covering a protest in front of the Portland Police Bureau North Precinct on Oct. 10, 2020.

The protest was among the many demonstrations that broke out in response to police violence and in support of Black Lives Matter following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 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 had 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 city agreed to a preliminary injunction in July to not to arrest or harm any journalists or legal observers of the protests or impede their work.

Lewis tweeted a video at 11:20 p.m. that captures the initial rush of officers toward the demonstrators.

“I was maced, pushed behind a barrier, forced to jump the barrier, and then forced down the sidewalk under threat of violence,” Lewis told the Tracker.

She said she had a press badge and large press markings on her backpack and helmet.

The Portland Police Bureau 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].