U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist pushed by police officers while covering protests in Portland

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 5, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
August 5, 2020

Freelance journalist Emily Molli was pushed by law enforcement while covering protests against racial injustice and police brutality in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 5, 2020, according to first-hand accounts and social media posts.

That night and into the following morning of Aug. 6, demonstrations were held in North Portland outside the headquarters of the Portland Police Association, the union representing the Portland Police Bureau. Shortly before midnight, law enforcement declared the gathering an unlawful assembly after an unidentified individual tried to break into the building, according to statements by the police to local news media.

In a video of the events that night shared on Twitter by freelance journalist Justin Yau, a police officer is seen telling a group of journalists trying to film an arrest that, “press needs to stop interfering,” and then pushing a female journalist wearing a white press helmet. Yau identified the journalist as freelance videographer and photographer Emily Molli.

Molli shared Yau’s tweet and previously told the Tracker about getting pushed by police and getting hit with a crowd-control round during Portland protests, but hasn’t responded to text messages seeking comment on this incident.

Since July 2020, law enforcement officers from the PPB and federal agencies have been barred by court rulings from arresting, harming or impeding journalists or legal observers of the protests. The Portland Police Bureau has said it wouldn’t comment on incidents involving journalists covering the protests, citing continuing litigation.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas or who had their equipment damaged in the course of reporting. Find all incidents related to Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests here.

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