U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

MSNBC host struck by rubber bullet while covering protests in Minneapolis

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 30, 2020


Was the journalist targeted?
May 30, 2020

MSNBC host Ali Velshi was struck by a rubber bullet and caught in tear gas while covering protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 30, 2020.

Protests began in Minnesota on May 26, sparked by a video showing a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest the day before. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital. An 8 p.m. curfew was put into effect on May 30.

At about 8:40 p.m., a group of Minnesota state police and National Guard officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a group of protesters, which also hit several journalists covering the demonstrations.

Velshi was hit by a rubber bullet in his left shin and was affected by the tear gas, he told the Committee to Protect Journalists — a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker — in a phone interview. Velshi said it was not clear whether the tear gas and rubber bullets were fired by state police or National Guard officers.

Velshi said in an MSNBC broadcast that he did not have time to put on his mask when the tear gas was first released. After Velashi and his crew retreated from the police line, the host was then hit by the rubber bullet, he told CPJ.

More than three dozen journalists were assaulted, arrested or had equipment damaged while covering protests that night. The Minneapolis Police Department, Minnesota State Police, and Minnesota National Guard did not reply to emailed requests for comment about these incidents.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas or who had their equipment damaged in the course of reporting. Find all incidents related to Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests here.

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