Mikko Marttinen, a reporter for Finnish outlet Ilta-Sanomat, was struck in the face with a crowd-control munition while covering protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020.
Multiple days of protests in Minneapolis and across the nation were sparked by a video showing a police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest on May 25. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital. On the fourth night of protests, the National Guard was called in to disperse crowds and enforce the 8 p.m. curfew in place that evening.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., Minneapolis Police officers near the department’s Fifth Precinct began indiscriminately firing projectiles and tear gas to disperse the crowd, Marttinen told the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ is a founding partner of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
One of the rubber bullets ricocheted off the ground and struck him in the face. Marttinen said his glasses, which were broken by the projectiles, saved his eye.
“I only got a few scratches on my eyelid and around my eye,” Marttinen said. “So I was pretty OK.”
Marttinen eventually met up with other foreign correspondents in an alley, including an Australian news team sheltering with its security team.
The Minneapolis Police Department did not respond to multiple phone and emailed requests for comment.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists being 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.