U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist hit in arm with projectile during Portland protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 27, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
July 27, 2020

Emily Molli, a reporter for SCNR, an independent video-based outlet previously known as Subverse News, said she was hit in the right arm with crowd-control munitions fired by federal officers while she was covering protests in downtown Portland, Oregon, during the early hours of July 27, 2020.

Molli was among dozens of reporters covering one of the many demonstrations that have broken 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 Portland protests, held nightly since late May, had grown more intense as the presence of federal law enforcement increased in early July. A temporary restraining order on July 2 that barred the Portland police from harming or impeding journalists was expanded to include federal agents on July 23.

On the night of July 26, demonstrators gathered in the area around the Multnomah County Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, where clashes with the Portland police and federal officers escalated into the next morning, according to local news outlet KGW8. Federal officers declared an “unlawful assembly” at 12:16 a.m., according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

Molli was hit with a marker round in the right arm, which she said caused bleeding and left a scar. “It hit my forearm muscle so hard that...I couldn’t grip with my right hand,” she told the Tracker. “It caused pretty nasty lacerations that took several weeks to finally heal.”

She had a press ID visibly displayed, she said, as well as press markings on her helmet.

DHS, which has coordinated the federal presence in Portland, said in a statement about the night’s enforcement actions that officers used crowd control tactics to respond to “attacks” against the courthouse and law enforcement officers by demonstrators. The agency didn’t respond to a request for comment on the incidents.

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