U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

KSHB news vehicle vandalized, set on fire during Kansas City protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 31, 2020

Equipment Damage

Equipment Broken
KSHB 41 NEWS/MEGAN STRICKLAND

A 41 Action News vehicle burns at the intersection of 46th and Main streets after it was vandalized and set on fire during protests on May 31, 2020.

— KSHB 41 NEWS/MEGAN STRICKLAND
May 31, 2020

At least two news vehicles were vandalized amid protests against police violence in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 31, 2020.

The protests were held in response to a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the U.S. since the end of May.

KSHB 41 Action News reported that one of its vehicles was parked near the intersection of 46th and Main streets when it was vandalized and set on fire. In its request for tips, the Kansas City Police Department posted on Twitter that it occurred at around 9:30 p.m.

KSHB reporter Megan Strickland published a video of the burning car on Twitter. Lines of spray-painted graffiti were also visible on the hood and passenger doors of the Ford SUV.

KSHB 41 Action News/Kathleen Choal

A KSHB 41 Action News team films a standup in front of the burned out remains of its news vehicle after the car was vandalized amid protests on May 31, 2020. KSHB 41 NEWS/KATHLEEN CHOAL


Station General Manager Kathleen Choal told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that the station took additional precautions — including hiring security for each field crew — to ensure the journalists’ safety while covering protests.

Choal told the Tracker that prior to the fire, several KSHB journalists had rocks, bricks and water bottles thrown at them, but no one was injured.

“Journalists find themselves facing more aggression and hostility while documenting history,” she said. “However, this has not diminished their passion to tell the stories of the amazing Kansas City community.”

KCPD spokesperson Capt. Dave Jackson told the Tracker they were working on the cases, but that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had taken the lead on the arson investigation.

A KMBC 9 News vehicle was also vandalized that night. The Tracker has documented that case here.

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]