U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Reporter pepper sprayed by police while documenting Minneapolis protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 29, 2020


Was the journalist targeted?
May 29, 2020

Des Moines Register reporter Tyler Davis wrote that he was pepper sprayed by a police officer while covering the fourth night of protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 29, 2020.

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.

In an account published by USA Today, Davis wrote that at approximately 8:30 p.m. on the 29th he was documenting protesters confronting police who had set up barricades at the intersection of S. 4th Street and Hennepin Avenue. Once protesters began touching the barricades, officers in the parking lot began to retreat while spraying the crowd with what Davis identified as light-pressure water hoses.

Shortly after multiple squad cars and bicycle officers arrived at the scene, flash-bang grenades and “chemical irritants” were deployed, Davis tweeted.

Davis wrote that as he attempted to document police pepper spraying two young women near him, the officer redirected the chemical spray toward him.

“He laid on the trigger for a few seconds as I told him I was a member of the media,” Davis wrote.

He said that as he walked north away from the scene, his eyes and face began intensely burning.

“I could hardly see,” Davis wrote. “Ten hours later, my right arm still feels as if a sunburn is subsiding.”

The Minneapolis Police Department 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].