Photojournalist attacked at scene of statue vandalism in Richmond

June 9, 2020

On June 9, 2020, a photojournalist with NBC 12 in Richmond, Virginia, was attacked by individuals tearing down a Christopher Columbus statue in Byrd Park.

Confederate and Columbus statues were torn down and vandalized in several cities in June, during protests against police violence and racial inequality.

In Richmond, the NBC 12 photojournalist was covering the scene with his colleague Brent Solomon, who tweeted, “Violent protesters rip off Christoper Columbus statue, throw it into the water, attack our photographer.”

Solomon did not name the photographer in his tweet, and Solomon said that they would “politely decline” to comment on the case to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

According to an article the TV channel published about the Columbus statue vandalism, the statue was torn down, spray painted, set on fire and dumped in a lake. The station’s report said that “at the height of the destruction,” some individuals surrounded the photographer, “demanding he leave the scene.” Without naming the photographer, the article said the individuals waved boards in his face, grabbed at him and attacked his camera. The article did not state if the camera was damaged, but noted that the photographer was “able to return to work after the incident.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas or had their equipment damaged while covering Black Lives Matter protests across the country. Find these incidents here.

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

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