Independent journalist Alissa Azar said she was shoved multiple times by police officers while covering protests in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 15, 2020.
Azar told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that Portland police officers were “being super aggressive with members of the press” that night. She posted a tweet, alongside a video of officers repeatedly calling “Move!” and pressuring people to walk in one direction; Azar called the confrontation “terrifying.”
“People almost fell off the railing from how hard the cops were pushing. We were not even next to the protesters,” she told the Tracker.
Azar said officers pushed her several times, including pushing her into a car at one point.
“I’m still shaken. I honestly was afraid for everyone’s safety,” Azar said.
She said she had been wearing a vest and helmet, both labelled with press markings, as well as a credential from Pacific Northwest Press Corps, which describes itself as an association of independent journalists covering ongoing protests in Portland and other parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Portland Police Bureau spokesman Sgt. Kevin Allen declined to comment on the incident, citing continuing litigation involving the City of Portland. Since July, 2020, law enforcement officers from the PPB and federal agencies have been barred by court rulings from arresting, harming or impeding journalists or legal observers of the protests.
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.