Social media journalist shoved by police at Minneapolis protest

June 3, 2021

Kevin Gilman, a journalist for the Minnesota-based social media outlet Watchdog Citizen News, told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was shoved by a police officer while reporting on a protest in Minneapolis that started the night of June 3, 2021.

The demonstration in the city’s Uptown neighborhood began after officers with a U.S. Marshals task force shot and killed Winston Boogie Smith Jr., a Black man, on June 3, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Gilman told the Tracker he was using his phone to record video as a police line was pushing protesters back on West Lake Street at around midnight.

Suddenly, Gilman said, an officer ran forward and, holding a baton with both hands, used it to shove Gilman in his left arm.

“All of a sudden, an officer came running out of the formation at me and cross-checked me with his baton,” Gilman said.

Gilman said he dropped his phone, which he was using to film, when the officer shoved him.

Video Gilman posted on Twitter shows police detaining a woman with a bicycle nearby while more officers in blue uniforms holding long sticks move up the street.

One officer, who Gilman said was with the Minneapolis Police Department, runs toward the camera, and Gilman can be heard shouting “I’m press!”

Then the camera shakes and appears to fall to the ground, pointing up.

Gilman told the Tracker he had a large bruise on his left arm where the officer’s baton struck him. He said his phone’s screen had minor scratches, though it was still operable and he didn’t need to get it repaired.

In addition to shouting to identify himself as a journalist, Gilman said he was wearing a vest marked “PRESS” and displaying press credentials made by Watchdog Citizen News.

Gilman said he believed he was targeted because he was a journalist. “He went out of his way to go after me,” he said of the officer who shoved him.

A Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson said the journalist could file a complaint if they feel they have been treated improperly by a member of the department. Gilman said he does not plan to file a complaint.

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

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