U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

LAPD officer aims weapon at student reporter during protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 30, 2020


Was the journalist targeted?
May 30, 2020

Jintak Han, a photographer and reporter for the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper, was shot at by law enforcement while covering protests in Los Angeles, California, on May 30, 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, Minnesota, on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the United States since the end of May.

Han told the Committee to Protect Journalists — a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker — that he was wrapping up an afternoon reporting on the protests and trying to cross Beverly Boulevard to head back to his car around 7:15 p.m. when he found himself facing a police line that was clearing protesters block-by-block.

Han said he was readily identifiable as a journalist, wearing a press pass, as well as a white helmet and a vest emblazoned with “PRESS,” and carrying three cameras.

Despite this, he said, an officer aimed his weapon at him, prompting Han to raise both hands in the air. He moved into an opening, and soon was standing “some distance away” from a group of four protesters who were shielding themselves behind a mattress when officers opened fire. “The rubber bullets fell short and hit the ground near my feet before I hid behind the mattress,” he told CPJ.

LAPD did not respond to an email requesting comment.

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].