Actions by Metropolitan Police Department officers led to damage of a camera used by freelancer Andrew Jasiura while he was covering protests in Washington D.C., according to the journalist.
On the night of Aug. 27, 2020, Jasiura, who has been documenting the protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement for several months, was covering demonstrations in downtown Washington D.C. Protesters were gathered in the pedestrian area outside of the White House that was renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” when a man arrived at the scene wearing blackface, Jasiura told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
When protesters started chasing the man, police officers moved to protect him, detaining a protester who allegedly assaulted the man, Jasiura said. Another protester sought to intervene and was pushed away by a police officer, according to the journalist. Jasiura had been photographing the encounter, and the officer shoved the protester in his direction, he said. “He threw that person into me and I hit a barricade. The screen on one of my cameras broke,” Jasiura told the Tracker.
According to Jasiura, police officers told him that if he sent in his footage they could review it and determine if any police misconduct had occurred. “But giving that footage to the police could put protesters at risk, so I didn’t do it,” he told the Tracker.
The Metropolitan Police Department did not respond to a Tracker request for comment.
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 protests across the country. Find these incidents here.