Independent photojournalist Jake Lee Green was assaulted by Los Angeles Police Department officers on June 24, 2022, while documenting reproductive rights protests in Los Angeles, California.
Protesters gathered in Downtown LA following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Green told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he was photographing the demonstrations and wearing multiple press badges and a shoulder mounted camera when two police officers jabbed him in the side with their batons. Green said he had been filming when the officers jabbed him in the ribs, catching him by surprise.
“I was so focused on setting up my shot that I really wasn’t paying attention when the officers approached me,” Green said. “I told them I was just trying to do my job but I immediately got out of there.”
Green said he repeatedly encountered police throughout the day while covering the protests and noticed them acting aggressively toward reporters.
“My encounter wasn’t as bad as some of my colleagues that night but that use of force was unnecessary,” Green said.
Green was among several other journalists who reported assaults or detainments while covering demonstrations in LA. The Los Angeles Times reported police officers repeatedly ignored a recent law, passed in October 2021, that granted broader protections to journalists covering civil protests and access to areas closed off by police.
“According to Times reporters, witnesses' videos and interviews with other media members on the ground, journalists were pushed, struck with batons, forced out of areas where they had a right to observe police activity and blocked from entering other areas where police and protesters were clashing and arrests were being made.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Times that the department would be investigating the complaints made by press members. LAPD did not return an emailed request for comment.
Find press freedom violations documented by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker at reproductive rights demonstrations across the U.S. here.