U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Police officer strikes journalist in Puerto Rico

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 1, 2018


Was the journalist targeted?
Metro/José Encarnación

A screengrab from José Encarnación's livestream shows police officers confronting him. Although Encarnacíon identified himself as a journalist, an officer hit him in the chest.

— Metro/José Encarnación
May 1, 2018

On May 1, 2018, a police officer struck José Encarnación in the chest, as the journalist livestreamed a protest in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Encarnacíon is a reporter at Metro, a Puerto Rican newspaper. Video that he recorded during the assault shows him identifying himself as “prensa, prensa, prensa” (“press”) to a group of State Police officers holding batons, before groaning in pain and falling to the ground.

Another video, recorded by a journalist near Encarnacíon, shows an officer quickly approaching Encarnación from behind and then striking him in the chest.

After Encarnacíon fell, his colleagues helped him back up and he was able to continue his coverage of the protests, according to Metro.

The president of the Puerto Rico Journalists Association (ASPPRO) condemned the assault and announced that the organization would file a formal complaint against the State Police.

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