LakersCelebration_assult_101120

An LAPD officer hits reporter with crowd-control munition during Lakers celebrations

October 11, 2020

Samuel Braslow, a journalist for the Beverly Hills Courier, said Los Angeles Police Department officers hit him with crowd-control munition amid fanfare in downtown Los Angeles, California, on the night of Oct. 11, 2020.

Earlier in the evening, the Los Angeles Lakers had won the NBA championship, drawing thousands of celebrants outside the Staples Center. According to the Los Angeles Times, the festivities “quickly soured,” though, and “the scene devolved into another roving standoff between police in riot gear and throngs of people on the street.” Throughout the summer, Los Angeles and cities across the U.S. saw similar scenes, as thousands took to the streets to protest police brutality. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

Braslow told the Tracker he arrived in downtown LA after LAPD officers had already started forming a skirmish line with officers in riot gear on foot and mounted police behind them.

“Even as people were complying and moving backward, LAPD officers continued firing less-lethal munitions at the crowd,” Braslow said.

At 9:43 p.m. on Oct. 11, Braslow posted footage of the advancing police line. Approximately 4 seconds into the clip, an officer on the left side of the frame appears to notice Braslow, aims his crowd-control firearm at the journalist and fires.

“Police aimed at me. Less lethal round literally hits my phone out of my hands (credit to apple, it kept recording),” Braslow wrote on Twitter.

Braslow told the Tracker he was holding his phone in front of the face when it was shot out of his hands, and said that it was clear officers were not following directives to aim crowd-control munitions at the ground or waist-level.

Braslow said he was wearing a Courier press badge and was carrying a large, professional camera around his neck. He said he was not injured and his phone was not damaged from the incident. He was able to continue posting live reports and footage until about 1:20 a.m.

“I was less surprised than I maybe should have been,” Braslow said, “and I just took it in stride.”

LAPD did not respond to a request for comment.

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

Related Incidents

Independent journalist harassed, equipment damaged at LA anti-vaccine rally

September 18, 2021
Independent videographer and photographer Emily Molli was assaulted while gathering footage of an anti-vaccine rally outside Los Angeles City Hall in California on Sept. 18, 2021.Molli told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker she was doused with an oily substance and her camera equipment was damaged while covering what organizers called a “fight for medical freedom” rally.She told the Tracker she had not initially planned on covering the rally because of recent violent eruptions that have occurred at these events but …

Correspondent threatened, kicked during anti-vaccine protest at LA’s City Hall

August 14, 2021
Frank Stoltze, a correspondent for the NPR station KPCC and LAist, was threatened, shoved and kicked while covering an anti-vaccine protest outside LA’s City Hall on Aug. 14, 2021.Demonstrators had gathered for a rally advertised as a “stop socialism, choose freedom march against medical tyranny” to protest COVID-19 vaccination requirements and mask mandates, Stoltze wrote in an account for LAist. Stoltze, who did not respond to an emailed request for comment, wrote that demonstrators carried pro-Trump flags, signs calling for …

Journalist assaulted twice during anti-vaccine rally in LA

August 14, 2021
Independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg was assaulted while covering an anti-vaccine protest outside LA’s City Hall for the online outlet Status Coup on Aug. 14, 2021.Demonstrators had gathered for a rally advertised as a “stop socialism, choose freedom march against medical tyranny” to protest COVID-19 vaccination requirements and mask mandates, LAist reported. Demonstrators carried signs from a cross-section of movements, including pro-Trump banners, signs calling for the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other signs and banners. While the demonstration …

Video journalist attacked, sprayed with chemical irritant while covering anti-vaccine rally in LA

August 14, 2021
Jake Lee Green, an independent video journalist for News2Share, a collective that sells footage to news outlets, was slapped, kicked and sprayed with a chemical irritant while covering an anti-vaccination rally in Los Angeles, California, on Aug. 14, 2021.Green told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he was covering the “stop socialism, choose freedom march against medical tyranny” rally, a demonstration outside LA’s City Hall, where demonstrators gathered to protest against mask and vaccination mandates.When counterprotesters arrived, Green moved away from …
More related incidents