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Protestor pepper sprays CBS4 Denver, another news crew

May 29, 2020

An unknown man squirted pepper spray at a crew from CBS4 Denver who were covering the protests on the streets of Colorado’s capital on May 29, 2020.

This incident occurred during the second night of protests in Denver over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis Police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25. Related protests have spread to cities across the nation.

Reporter Jamie Leary and photojournalist Rob McClure were both “OK” after the attack, according to a tweet from CBS producer Dago Cordova, who shared video footage of the incident.

The crew was set up directly across from the Colorado state capitol along Lincoln Avenue. In the video, an unidentified young man in a colorful striped shirt, black baseball cap and black balaclava holding a canister of pepper spray walks by the journalists, who are filming live, then doubles back and sprays the crew with pepper spray. “Hey hey hey, Are you kidding me?” Leary says as the attack is underway.

Both Leary and McClure were able to avoid a direct hit from the pepper spray, as they had just watched the man pepper spray another camera crew nearby. They were watching him carefully, Leary told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. “He walked by us and then did an about-face,” she explained.

McClure’s camera was lightly sprayed, but was not damaged.

Information about the identity of the other camera crew attacked was not immediately available.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting damage of equipment and multiple journalists arrested or struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas while covering related protests across the country. Find all of these cases here.

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

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