U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist briefly detained at pro-Palestinian march in NYC

Incident Details

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war during a march in New York City on Feb. 19, 2024. Independent photojournalist Josh Pacheco was briefly detained while covering the protest.

— REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
February 19, 2024

Independent photojournalist Josh Pacheco was pulled to the ground and briefly detained by New York City police officers while covering a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Queens on Feb. 19, 2024.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the Astoria neighborhood to demand a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war, WPIX TV reported. Pacheco was documenting the protest march alongside multiple other members of the press when police began ordering everyone to get off the street, the photojournalist told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

In footage shared with the Tracker, Pacheco can be seen wearing a press credential and holding a professional camera while standing next to a second individual with a camera affixed to a monopod. An officer appears to direct the journalists to move up the street before suddenly grabbing Pacheco by the arm.

“He just grabs me, drags me into the street. Another officer helps him try to arrest me, with my press pass just swinging in the wind,” Pacheco told the Tracker. “I’m up and I’m down and I’m up and I’m down, because they’re just pulling me every which way.”

In Pacheco’s footage, the journalist can be heard saying, “Yo, yo! What the hell?” to the officer pulling them into the street, as multiple others shout that Pacheco is a member of the press. Moments later, another officer approaches and can be heard asking, “Are you press?” The rest of the exchange cannot be heard over the police’s loudspeaker announcements.

“It took a captain walking over to say, ‘You can’t do that, they’re press,’ for them to finally let me go,” Pacheco told the Tracker. They said that while they were uninjured and none of their equipment was damaged, “It was jarring.”

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

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