U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Minnesota State Patrol officers shoot at CBS news crew in Minneapolis

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 31, 2020

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
Courtesy of CBS News/Tim Horstman

Journalists with CBS News take shelter in a parking garage in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 31, 2020, while covering demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.

— Courtesy of CBS News/Tim Horstman
May 31, 2020

CBS journalist Tim Horstman and his news crew were shot at with crowd-control munitions by law enforcement while documenting protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after curfew went into effect 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, 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.

Shortly after the 8 p.m. curfew, Minnesota State Patrol officers aimed crowd-control weapons at a Deutsche Welle news crew near a fence running alongside Interstate 35W in Minneapolis. The crew cut their live shot short, got into their car, and drove away as the officers opened fire at the vehicle.

Horstman, a camera technician for CBS News, told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he was part of a news crew filming the protest from a nearby parking garage. He said the news crew was above the DW journalists when they were confronted by officers.

“We could hear them yelling that they were press,” Horstman said in a message on Twitter. “It was at that same time they [the law enforcement officers] were shooting at us in the garage above. We would peek over the ledge and they would shoot.”

When asked if the news crew was specifically targeted, Horstman said the members of the crew were the only ones on that level of the garage when officers opened fire with 40mm rubber bullet rounds. He also shared images of the news crew appearing to crouch behind the external walks and columns of the garage and of one of the rubber rounds.

According to Horstman, none of the CBS journalists were struck by the munitions.

State police had already cleared protesters off the highway when they turned their attention to the press, DW's Simons said.

A request for comment emailed to the Minnesota State Patrol was not immediately returned.

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]