U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist has phone knocked to ground by police while recording NYC protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
January 31, 2020
New York, New York


Was the journalist targeted?
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

Independent journalist Ashoka Jegroo was documenting a Jan. 31, 2020, protest outside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal against the subway system’s increased fares and police presence when an NYPD officer twice slapped the phone from his hands.

— REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
January 31, 2020

Independent journalist Ashoka Jegroo had his phone knocked from his hand multiple times by a police officer while documenting protests in New York City on Jan. 31, 2020.

Protesters gathered at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan to demonstrate against high police presence on the city’s subways and to call for free public transit, WABC-TV reported.

Jegroo told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in 2023 that a New York Police Department officer slapped his phone out of his hand twice while he was reporting on the protest.

“It seemed like he just really didn’t like the fact that anyone would aim a camera at him,” Jegroo said. “I remember him complaining about me recording him both times he slapped my phone. The second time he slapped it so hard that it flew over a barricade.”

Jegroo said that his phone didn’t sustain any damage, and he elected not to file a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, citing his skepticism in its willingness and ability to hold police accountable.

The New York Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

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