U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Police shoot TV photojournalist with 'less-lethal' round at Portland protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 4, 2018
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
Mike Bivins

Ric Peavyhouse, a photojournalist for Portland TV station KATU, was struck by a blue foam-tipped round fired by police officers on August 4, 2018.

— Mike Bivins
August 4, 2018

Ric Peavyhouse, a photojournalist with local TV station KATU, was filming a protest in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 4, 2018, when a police officer shot him in the leg with a "less-lethal" foam-tipped round.

Mike Bivins, a freelance reporter who covers the city, was standing a short distance away from Peavyhouse and captured video of the sponge round striking him. He later posted the video on Twitter.

The video shows a small number of protesters in front of a line of Portland police officers. Peavyhouse is standing on the side of the street, holding a big TV camera on his shoulders and filming the line of police and the protesters.

In the video, police officer issues a dispersal order over a loudspeaker.

"All people in this area must immediately disperse," the officer says. "Failure to comply with this order may subject you to arrest or citation and may subject you to the use of riot control agents or impact weapons."

Suddenly, a small blue projectile — likely a 40mm plastic round with a blue foam tip — strikes Peavyhouse in his right thigh. He clutches his leg, turns around, and stumbles out of frame.

In an interview with KATU, Peavyhouse described being struck by the less-lethal round.

"Then I hear a tat-tat-tat-tat," he said. "A split second later, I feel like a crack on my leg, feels like a baseball bat hitting your thigh."

Peavyhouse tweeted that the 40mm sponge round left a large bruise on his thigh and made it painful for him to walk.

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