Q13 Fox political correspondent Brandi Kruse and her television news crew were targeted, followed and harassed by a group of unidentified people while the journalists covered protests in Seattle, Washington, on June 8, 2020.
Kruse was documenting nightly demonstrations organized in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis on May 25.
According to news reports, on June 8 the Seattle Police Department withdrew from its East Precinct on Capitol Hill and left the area to protesters, who continued to demonstrate and host speakers. Earlier that afternoon, Kruse retweeted a photo of Seattle police officers moving equipment out of the East Precinct station.
In the evening, Kruse and her crew with the Seattle-area Fox affiliate were targeted by protesters and harassed for approximately 15 minutes, according to an unedited video of the incident that she shared on Facebook. Kruse said she posted a considerable amount of material about the incident on Twitter and Facebook, but declined to comment further.
“Our crew was targeted, stalked, harassed, and assaulted,” Kruse wrote in her video post. “The level of vitriol from one member of the mob, who claimed she was a ‘social worker,’ was like nothing I've ever experienced.”
The video begins when Kruse is speaking to some of the protesters near her. One individual is filming the scene on his phone and says, “Y’all spread misinformation.”
Kruse responds: “You haven’t even heard our report yet.”
Kruse attempts to explain what she hopes to cover and asks those confronting her to not swear on camera. (They continue to do so.) As Kruse tries to lead her crew away, the same individual yells out to other protesters in the area, “This is Q13 Fox. Don’t let them get a second of news. They’re trying to make us look bad.”
Kruse asks the cameraperson to continue filming. Two minutes into the video, a small crowd around her begins to chant, “Fuck Fox News.” As Kruse and her crew begin to walk faster, the crowd pursues them and individuals can be heard yelling things like “fake news,” “get the fuck out of here” and “you should be ashamed of yourself.” Members of the crowd also can be seen taking photographs and filming as they go.
When one individual approaches Kruse while yelling in her face, calls of “don’t touch her” can be heard from the crowd.
For several minutes, Kruse and her crew walk down various streets, always followed closely by a group of protesters. Occasionally, she responds to protesters’ questions and remarks, explaining that Q13 is a local station, that she lives in the area and that she has already been reporting for four hours that evening. Protesters say they don’t want Fox News in the neighborhood. One says: “You are destroying the country.”
Q13 is owned by Fox Television Stations, a subsidiary of Fox Corp.
At 9:48 in the video, Kruse stops in front of several businesses and the crowd gathers close around her. Most of the individuals have masks on. At 10:35, one person appears to hit the side of Kruse’s face with an extended umbrella, so she asks her cameraperson to “get her on camera because she physically assaulted us.”
The yelling escalates and it is difficult for Kruse to communicate with the crowd. At one point, she says, “I don’t mind if you yell. I have no issue with you expressing your opinion.”
An individual near her asks why she works for Fox News. Kruse responds: “I work for Q13. We’re a local news station.”
One individual tells her that “nobody is going to hurt you,” but asks her to leave. As she continues to discuss with her crew whether to stay or go, the same individual says again, “You’re provoking us by filming. People don’t want to be on camera. We’re trying to get you out.”
Eventually, Kruse and her crew walk towards a nearby fire station and are let in. Once inside, the news crew is ushered toward the back of the building and the video ends.
In the comments below the Facebook post, Kruse explained that one reason she posted the full clip was so there would be no dispute about what happened.
“The mob that accosted us did not represent or reflect the entire group of protesters,” she later tweeted. “It’s not fair to blame that violence on everyone, just like it’s not realistic to say everyone has been peaceful.”
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.