U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

NYPD shoves AP photojournalist, preventing protest coverage

Incident Details

Date of Incident
June 2, 2020
Location
New York, New York

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Demonstrators gather after curfew in lower Manhattan on June 2, 2020. Although media is exempt from curfew orders, two journalists with The Associated Press were forced by law enforcement to stop documenting the protests and leave the area.

— REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
June 2, 2020

Two journalists for the Associated Press were assaulted by law enforcement officers and ordered to leave the scene of protests in New York, New York, on June 2, 2020.

Protests that began in Minnesota on May 26 have 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.

The AP reported that photojournalist Maye-E Wong and video journalist Robert Bumsted were documenting protests in lower Manhattan shortly after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect. Members of the media were exempted from the order as “essential workers.”

In a video captured by Bumsted, more than half a dozen officers can be seen confronting the journalists and ordering them to clear the street along with all the demonstrators in the area.

“Thank you. Have a good day. Go the fuck home,” one officer can be heard saying.

Bumsted, who declined to comment, can be heard responding that they are essential workers and are therefore exempt from the curfew. The AP reported that both were wearing press credentials and repeatedly identified themselves as media.

An officer responds, “I don’t give a shit.” Another can be heard repeatedly shouting, “Who are you essential to?”

The AP reported that officers repeatedly shoved both journalists toward Bumsted’s nearby car, separating them from each other. At one point, officers pinned Bumsted against his car.

In the video, an officer can be heard telling Bumsted, “You need to get in your car and get out of here.”

Bumsted responds that he needs the keys, which Wong was carrying, so the officers allow her to approach the vehicle.

As Bumsted appears to get into his car, he can be heard saying, “Don’t be like that. Respect the press.”

The New York Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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]