U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Livestreamer assaulted by individual at Proud Boys rally, his phone stolen

Incident Details

September 26, 2020

A livestreamer was punched and shoved to the ground while covering a Sept. 26, 2020, rally in Portland, Oregon. The attacker was filmed kicking the journalist in the face, taking his phone and throwing it over a fence.

Journalists covering the Sept. 26 rally of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, Portland’s Delta Park, captured images of a man assaulting the livestreamer, who goes by the name Jovanni, the Daily Beast reports. The event attracted between 200 and 300 people, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Independent journalist Zack Perry told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that at one point during the rally he witnessed members of the crowd yelling at Jovanni and trying to chase him out of the event. A man clad in jeans, gray shirt and a ballcap punched Jovanni in the eye but the livestreamer managed to get away, according to Perry and a Twitter post by Jovanni.

Jovanni did not respond to the Tracker’s requests for comment.

Perry, Jovanni and two other journalists tried to walk out of the event as a group, but Jovanni’s assailant “kept stalking us and berating us, blaming us for killing Jay Bishop and for burning down the city of Portland,” Perry said.

“Jay Bishop” is an alias for Aaron Danielson, a “friend and supporter” of the right-wing, Vancouver, Washington-based Patriot Prayer group who was shot and killed on Aug. 29, 2020, during a clash of left-wing groups and supporters of President Donald Trump in downtown Portland, the Oregonian reports.

“He pushed me very aggressively multiple times and punched me in the back of the head on two separate occasions but we just kept walking,” Perry said. After Perry was struck, the journalist said he stepped away in order to get “some distance to see if I could capture footage of him fucking with us better.”

The Tracker documented the assaults of Perry and independent journalist Justin Katigbak here.

At that point, Perry said, the assailant who had punched Jovanni earlier assaulted him a second time, throwing him into a fence and kicking him in the face.

Portland Tribune reporter Zane Sparling posted a video on Twitter of the attack at about 4 p.m. in which the man is seen kicking Jovanni in the face, snatching his phone from his hand and throwing the device over the fence. The assailant then falls to the ground himself.

Perry said that both journalists and rally attendees then moved to separate the assailant from Jovanni and that he and other journalists took the livestreamer to be seen by medics on hand at a nearby Black Lives Matter protest.

Jovanni tweeted on Sept. 27 that he went to the hospital and learned that he suffered a concussion from the attack. He said that he was unable to recover his phone but that a “homie got me a temporary.”

The Portland Police Bureau tweeted that the department was investigating the on-camera assault and called on witnesses to come forward. But a department spokesperson told the Tracker that investigators were unable to get in touch with Jovanni to look into the matter further.

“I have not been notified that there has been any change to that case. As far as I can tell it remains inactive,” Portland Police Sgt. Kevin Allen told the Tracker on Feb. 1, 2021.

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