U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Reporter struck by projectile in Minneapolis while covering George Floyd protest

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 26, 2020

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
No
May 26, 2020

Niko Georgiades, a reporter with the media collective Unicorn Riot, was struck with a crowd-control projectile while covering a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 26, 2020.

Demonstrations began in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man, the day before, after an officer pinned down his neck with his knee for several minutes, ignoring Floyd's repeated exclamations that he could not breathe. A 17-year-old bystander caught this encounter on video and shared it on Facebook, sparking widespread outrage.

On May 26, thousands of protesters gathered outside the convenience store where Floyd had been detained and marched almost three miles to the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct. There, some in the crowd turned violent, lobbing rocks and water bottles at police. Others attacked parked police cruisers and the precinct itself, breaking a glass door, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Police clad in riot gear answered by setting off tear gas canisters, detonating flash bang grenades and firing rubber or foam bullets into the crowd.

The media collective Unicorn Riot posted on Twitter that a projectile hit Georgiades in his left tricep, breaking the skin.

In an email, Georgiades told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was standing inside a bus shelter filming protesters facing off with police when he was hit.

"Many were throwing rocks at the precinct and hiding behind the carts and shelter. One person threw and ducked, and instantly a marker round was shot and shrapnel from the broken glass hit him in the eye. I moved in to see what happened and was shot instantly in the arm," he wrote.

He added that he did not think he had been specifically targeted "because of the sheer amount of people throwing things from where I was."

A request for comment sent to Minneapolis Police Department Public Information Officer John Elder was not answered.

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.

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