Reporter for Swedish outlet struck with projectile during Minneapolis protest

May 29, 2020

Nina Svanberg, a reporter for the Swedish outlet Expressen, was struck with a crowd-control munition while covering protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020.

Multiple days of protests in Minneapolis and across the nation were sparked by a video showing a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest on May 25. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Svanberg told the Committee to Protect Journalists — a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker — that she and Thomas Nilsson, a photojournalist for Norwegian outlet Verdens Gang, had walked with protesters up from the Third Precinct to the Fifth Precinct on the 29th. National Guard troops and police arrived to the area to disperse the crowd and enforce the 8 p.m. curfew.

At about 11:30 p.m., Minneapolis Police Department officers began indiscriminately firing projectiles and tear gas to disperse the crowd, Svanberg said. One hit her on the hip.

“All of a sudden, I feel a sudden pain in the leg, and I’m losing my balance and falling down,” Svanberg told CPJ.

She said that she crawled behind a car to avoid being hit again, but was caught in the tear gas. Nilsson was affected by the chemical irritant as well. The Tracker documented his assault here.

The journalists eventually met up in an alley where an Australian news team was sheltering with its security team.

Svanberg told CPJ that both she and Nilsson were wearing press passes.

“The thing is, I think it was obvious that we were there working,” Svanberg said. “We were behaving like journalists and not demonstrators.”

The Minneapolis Police Department did not respond to multiple phone and emailed requests for comment.

“We stood there for a while,” Svanberg said. “And then we just went from the corner and continued working.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists being 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]

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