A WSB-TV news vehicle was vandalized on May 29, 2020, during protests in Atlanta, Georgia.
Protests that began in Minnesota on May 26 have spread across the country, 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.
WSB reporter Matt Johnson tweeted around midnight on May 29 that someone had just thrown a rock through the back window of the news vehicle.
Johnson told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that the vehicle was unmarked, but had a satellite dish on top that may have made it a target.
“A photographer and I were next to the car when someone threw a rock at it from behind,” Johnson said. “We heard some people saying, ‘No, don’t do that, they’re just trying to make a living’ after the first rock was thrown.”
Shortly after, another rock was thrown at the front window of the vehicle.
Johnson told the Tracker that soon after, a separate group of people made a semi-circle around the news crew and began cursing and threatening them for reporting fake news. He tweeted a video of the group of at least a dozen individuals.
In the video, multiple individuals can be heard harassing the journalists, calling them “fake-ass news,” flipping them off and telling them to “keep it real” and tell the people what is really going on.
“Eventually they cleared out when we just stood there and took it,” Johnson said.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting damage of equipment and multiple journalists arrested or struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas while covering related protests across the country. Find all of these cases here.
This article has been updated to reflect comment from Matt Johnson.