Telemundo journalists hit with projectiles during protests in D.C.
Multiple journalists for the Spanish-language outlet Telemundo reported being hit with projectiles while covering protests near the White House on June 1, 2020.
The protests that day were part of a wave of demonstrations resulting from a viral video showing a Minneapolis, Minnesota, 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 local hospital. Protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the U.S. since the end of May.
The Telemundo journalists — senior Washington correspondent Cristina Londoño Rooney; bureau chief Lori Montenegro; and cameraman Edwin López — reported being hit with projectiles as law enforcement officials attempted to disperse protesters half an hour before the district’s 7 p.m. curfew on June 1 and as President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the nearby Rose Garden.
Emailed requests to the Telemundo journalists for interviews were not returned as of press time.
In a video posted shortly before being hit, Londoño described “a very tense atmosphere” and how tear gas was “already starting to make our throats itch.” She wondered if “protesters are aware that the president will be addressing the nation any time.”
After the attack, the Colombian journalist posted a video in which she detailed the journalists’ injuries, stating that Montenegro had been hit on the back and that her throat was sore after breathing air filled with tear gas; that López had been hit on his right arm and ribs; and that law enforcement had used “long weapons that were pointing at us” to push them out of the area close to the White House.
In a tweet on June 5, Londoño shared pictures of her wounds and bruises, writing, “The White House also said rubber bullets were not used. Can anyone tell me what this looks like?”
La Casa Blanca negó que usaron gases lacrimógenos o balas de goma para dispersar a los manifestantes y periodistas el lunes. Sentí los gases y el @washingtonpost ahora los confirma. Y esto ¿Me pueden decir esto qué es? pic.twitter.com/CkjEIPSwqu— Cristina Londoño Rooney (@CristiLondono) June 6, 2020
D.C. is notable for the large number of different police forces that operate within its borders. Park Police said in a statement on June 2 that its officers and other assisting law enforcement partners had not used tear gas that day, though multiple outlets, including the Washington Post, have reported that “chemical agents” were deployed. Regarding this particular incident, Park Police did not respond to our request for comment as of press time.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas, or had their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country. Find these incidents here.