U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Officers harass, shove journalist covering Portland protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
October 10, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
October 10, 2020

Independent journalist Alissa Azar said she was harassed and assaulted by Portland police while covering a protest in front of the 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.

At 10:22 p.m. on Oct. 10 Azar tweeted a video of officers surrounding protesters, yelling at and aggressively pushing them around. At the 1:10 time mark, an officer approaches Azar saying, “If you want to film, you can do it from down there,” pressuring them to walk away from the scene. Another officer suddenly charges at them, yelling, “Move! I don’t care what the TRO says.”

Azar told the Tracker she was physically pushed and was wearing her National Press Photographers Association pass, as well as a helmet and vest with press markings.

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].