A TV reporter and photojournalist with the Rochester, New York, NBC affiliate were assaulted by unknown men while covering a protest on May 30, 2020.
Reporter Andrew Hyman told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was covering the protests for News10NBC in Rochester alongside station photographer Jack Diamond when the incident occurred.
Hyman said that a man approached him, took out a phone and began recording while asking the reporter questions about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hyman said he declined to provide direct answers to the queries, which appeared to agitate the individual.
“I was just trying to be an unbiased journalist,” he said.
At that point, several other individuals approached Hyman. One of the individuals grabbed an earpiece that Hyman had plugged into a smartphone to broadcast coverage of the demonstrations to Facebook Live, Hyman said. He said he didn’t get a good look at the person who took the earpiece.
Hyman said five or six men — all wearing masks — spotted the exchange and approached his location. A scuffle ensued. Hyman said the men pushed him a few times but he managed to flee the area without injury.
The reporter said he looked back and noticed that Diamond was not with him. Diamond had been tackled to the ground. Other individuals at the scene helped the cameraman to his feet, Hyman said. The Tracker has documented Diamond’s assault here.
After regrouping with Diamond, the two NBC10 journalists continued coverage of the protest and broadcast their reporting to Facebook Live.
Neither sought medical attention. Hyman did not report the loss of his equipment to police. He said that police reached out to him after NBC10 posted video of the incident online and told him they “wanted to look into” the attack.
Hyman said he gave police raw footage that shows the person who made the initial contact with him, but he had not received any updates from authorities as of press time.
The Rochester Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on Hyman’s case.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists being assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas, or having their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country. Find these incidents here.