U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist struck with rubber bullet, his camera damaged during L.A. protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 30, 2020

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Unknown

Equipment Damage

Equipment Broken
May 30, 2020

Photojournalist Ringo Chiu, a member of the National Press Photographers Association, was struck with a rubber bullet and had his camera damaged while documenting protests in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California, on May 30, 2020.

The protests in Los Angeles were sparked by a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Demonstrations against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the United States since the end of May.

In a post initially to Facebook and later shared with the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, Chiu wrote that officers fired a rubber bullet that would have struck him in the upper body had it not been for his camera, which took the brunt of the hit. The lens hood of his Leica Q camera was damaged, as seen in photos posted to his social media accounts.

Chiu told the Tracker that he was also struck on his inner left thigh with a second rubber bullet fired by law enforcement.

CBSLA reported that both Los Angeles Police Department officers and L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies were at the scene in tactical gear. Neither agency responded to requests for comment as of press time.

Chiu was also assaulted by individuals while documenting the protest, which the Tracker has documented here.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has documented hundreds of incidents of journalists being assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas, or having their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country in 2020. Find these incidents here.

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