U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist shoved by NYPD officers while covering protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 31, 2020
New York, New York


Was the journalist targeted?
May 31, 2020

Photojournalist Edward Leavy Jr. said he was shoved to the ground by police officers multiple times and hit with a baton while reporting on protests in New York City on May 31, 2020.

Racial justice protests in New York and across the country began in response to a video of the police killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting arrests, assaults and other obstructions to journalists covering protests across the country.

Leavy, a member of the National Press Photographers Association, told the Tracker he was covering the protests for the Australian socialist news publication Green Left Weekly. He reported his experience to the Tracker but didn’t respond to further requests for comment.

Leavy said he was following a protest on Broadway between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. when New York Police Department officers began rushing at protesters. He said that an officer told him to back up, so he began walking away. As he was going, he said he was shoved from behind, face-down into the street by an officer.

Leavy said another officer started to place him under arrest, until a superior officer released him. However, he said, he was again shoved into the ground as he was being released.

Leavy said police subsequently pushed him two more times. One time he was shoved into a curb, which wounded both of his legs. He was also pushed over a newspaper box that had been tipped over, which he said bruised his ribs.

Later in the evening, he said he was hit with a baton while he was photographing the protest.

Leavy told the Tracker he was wearing a tactical vest marked with the word “PRESS” and was also displaying press identification cards hanging from his neck.

“When I inquired why are journalists being attacked they only denied that anyone would do that to me,” he said.

NPYD didn’t 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].