A journalist with Full Revolution Media said he was hit with a crowd-control munition by federal officers while covering a protest in the early morning hours of July 12, 2020, in downtown Portland, Oregon.
The demonstration was among the many 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.
The protest, which began on the night of July 11 and stretched past midnight, took place near the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, a frequent focus of demonstrators, according to local news outlet KATU. Protesters faced off with federal officers, who deployed crowd control munitions and CS gas, an aerosol and type of tear gas.
John, the Full Revolution Media journalist, told the Tracker that at approximately 1:49 a.m., he was hit in the shoulder and armpit with an impact munition fired by federal officers. He was about a half block away from the corner of Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Salmon Street, near the district courthouse.
"When coming out of [the] courthouse they would deploy gas and shoot pepper balls...often shooting through clouds of tear gas," said John, who asked that his last name not be used out of safety concerns.
John, whose helmet has large “press” markings on the front and back, said he felt targeted, since he was standing alone. “Nothing was really happening in my area by park bathrooms, and I was uphill from [the] federal courthouse," he said.
John sustained bruising and minor abrasions on his shoulder, he said.
The Department of Homeland Security, which has coordinated the federal presence in Portland, didn’t respond to a request for comment.