U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Minneapolis reporter injured by broken glass after nonlethal round shatters car window

Incident Details

REUTERS/Leah Millis

Protesters and law enforcement at a rally in Minneapolis on May 31, 2020.

— REUTERS/Leah Millis
May 31, 2020

Law enforcement officers fired a nonlethal round at a car driven by Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Ryan Faircloth, breaking the left passenger window and injuring him with glass shards, while he was covering protests in the city at about 12:15 a.m. on May 31, 2020.

Protests that began in Minnesota on May 26 spread across the country, sparked by a video showing a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a black man, during an arrest the day before. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Faircloth told the Committee to Protect Journalists in a phone interview that he was driving and arrived at a street blocked by National Guard and Minnesota State Police. He turned away from the police line, and then a marker round shattered the window, sending pieces of glass into the car, which cut him on his left forearm and brow.

He said he could not tell whether police or the National Guard troops fired the round, or whether they had fired other shots as well.

“I was taken aback,” Faircloth told CPJ. “I thought I was leaving the area [of the protests] and so my guard wasn’t up at all. And then everything shattered and all of a sudden I was bleeding.”

The Ford Focus he was driving is owned by the Star Tribune, and did not have any markings identifying it as a press vehicle, Faircloth said.

Faircloth had tweeted earlier in the night that the car had been fired upon by law enforcement on another street, but said no damage was done then.

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