U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photographer assaulted while documenting anti-police protest in Manhattan

Incident Details

Date of Incident
February 12, 2021
New York, New York


Was the journalist targeted?
February 12, 2021

New York Daily News photojournalist Sam Costanza was assaulted by a crowd of individuals while documenting protests in New York City on Feb. 12, 2021, according to multiple news sources.

Costanza was covering a “Defund the Police” protest in Manhattan’s Times Square at Sixth Avenue and West 54th Street in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. According to the Daily News, at around 9 p.m. a demonstrator was arrested and a “melee” ensued, resulting in two officers being injured and the arrests of multiple more individuals.

Costanza told the outlet he was surrounded by 10 or 15 individuals who began beating him. The New York Post reported that the individuals mistakenly believed that Costanza was a police officer.

According to the Daily News, Costanza believed he suffered a broken nose in the attack. Costanza could not be reached for comment, and the Daily News did not respond to emailed requests.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].