Reporter for NPR affiliate struck by rubber bullet during LA protests

May 30, 2020

Cerise Castle, a reporter for Santa Monica NPR affiliate KCRW, was struck with a rubber bullet while covering protests in Los Angeles, California, on May 30, 2020.

The protests were held in response to a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the United States since the end of May.

In a statement emailed to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, Castle said that at around 6:45 p.m., she was photographing a group of LAPD officers in riot gear who had just arrived at Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in the back of an open truck.

“As I was snapping photos, the police descended from their vehicle and began pointing rifles at the crowd. People started to run, I held my ground and continued to take pictures,” she wrote. “This is when the shooting started, without warning or prior order to disperse. I screamed after the first gunshot, then pulled myself together and began yelling PRESS and removed my lanyard from my neck, and held it above my head.”

The rubber bullet that hit her arm above the elbow crease was fired by an officer with whom she had just locked eyes with, she said. As she ran away, she sprained her ankle and is currently on crutches.

LAPD did not respond to an email requesting comment.

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]

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