U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Minnesota State Patrol officers shoot at CBS sound engineer in Minneapolis

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 31, 2020


Was the journalist targeted?

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.

May 31, 2020

CBS News sound engineer John Marschitz 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.

Protesters were marching that day on the Interstate 35W Bridge in downtown Minneapolis, according to local CBS affiliate WCCO. Marschitz told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he noticed the protesters from the window of the Courtyard hotel where they were staying, and he and his team quickly gathered their equipment to film from the hotel’s parking garage. The team consisted of Marschitz, camera technician Tim Horstman, field director Michael Hopkins and logistics manager Kevin Ward. See the Tracker’s documentation of these incidents here.

“That’s where we started watching everything happen and there were press down below us yelling, ‘Press! Press!’ and [law enforcement] still kept firing at them,” Marschitz said, referring to members of a Deutsche Welle news crew who were shot at as they identified themselves as press, cut their live shot short and drove away. “We were up in the garage and when we went over to the little brick wall they would shoot up at us, even though we had the camera propped up over, if we looked over they would shoot at us.”

When asked if the CBS News crew was specifically targeted, Marschitz said they were the only ones on that level of the garage when officers opened fire with rubber bullets and marker rounds.

Both Marschitz and Horstman said none of the CBS journalists were struck by the munitions.

The Minnesota State Patrol did not respond to a request for comment.

Marschitz was also struck in the arm with a rubber bullet while documenting protests the night before.

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].