Journalist shoved, his camera damaged, while covering Portland protest

June 25, 2021

Independent video journalist Mason Lake said a Portland police officer shoved him with a baton and damaged his on-camera microphone while he was covering a protest in Portland, Oregon, on June 25, 2021.

According to The Oregonian, protesters gathered near the Oregon Convention Center after a Portland police officer shot and killed a man outside a Motel 6. Some demonstrators shouted for officers to quit their jobs, while officers stood facing the protesters with shields and batons. The Portland Police Bureau on Twitter said officers throughout the city responded to help with "scene security." A few days earlier on June 16, all of the officers with the Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team resigned together following news of investigations for excessive force, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

"The PPB maced & fired 40mm rounds into a crowd of protestors gathered on NE Grand Ave," Lake wrote on Twitter at 12:04 p.m. on June 25, alongside a video of officers shoving and spraying demonstrators. At the 19-second mark, it appears that an officer physically knocked the camera, cutting the audio for the rest of the clip.

"I was on the front line and I was nearly bear-maced before being physically shoved by & officer with a baton," Lake wrote the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in a text message. "He hit/shoved me marking my neck & hitting my on-camera microphone damaging it." He also tweeted a photograph of his neck with a red mark across the middle and said he had multiple “press” markings across his clothes and helmet, as well as a National Press Photographers Association badge on his front strap.

“The officer issued no orders for press to move or go to designated area,” he added.

PPB didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

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

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