U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Reporter repeatedly shoved by police officers while covering protests in Portland

Incident Details

Date of Incident
June 30, 2020
Location
Portland, Oregon
Case number
3:20-cv-01142
Case Status
Ongoing
Type of case
Civil

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Unknown
June 30, 2020

Robert Evans, a journalist and iHeartRadio podcast host, was repeatedly shoved by police officers in Portland, Oregon, while reporting on protests on June 30, 2020, according to a lawsuit filed against the city.

Protests broke out in Portland and across the United States in response to police violence and the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white officer in Minneapolis.

On Aug. 27, Evans, with colleague Bea Lake, who was arrested while documenting protests on June 7, and another plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Portland. The complaint said that on June 30, Evans was covering a group of protesters as they marched to the Portland Police Association building where officers in riot gear were already stationed. About a half hour later, the demonstration was declared an unlawful assembly. Police officers ordered the crowd to disperse and started removing individuals from the street and sidewalk before firing riot control agents.

Evans, who did not respond to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s request for comment, was wearing a helmet labeled “PRESS” and press credentials and was repeatedly shoved by police officers as he tried to follow their orders. He stated in the complaint that he was “unable to fully document clashes and police conduct because he was forced off to the side and unable to find a reliably safe place for him to film.”

On June 28, the Americans Civil Liberties Union of Oregon filed a class-action lawsuit against the city of Portland and its law enforcement. The city later agreed to a preliminary injunction to not arrest, harm, or impede working journalists or legal observers at protests.

The Portland Police Bureau has said it wouldn’t comment on incidents involving journalists covering the protest, citing ongoing litigation.

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