U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

TV station evacuated, windows smashed amid protests in Louisville

Incident Details

May 29, 2020

The staff of television station WHAS 11 was forced to briefly evacuate the station’s offices in Louisville, Kentucky, after the building’s windows were smashed during a protest on May 29, 2020.

The protest was held in response to the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot dead by police on March 13, as well as the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis. Protests against police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the U.S. since late May.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on May 29, a WHAS producer posted on Twitter that he and other staff members were back on the air after having to evacuate the downtown building for 25 minutes when unidentified people started smashing windows.

A news reporter from the station also described having to evacuate the building and said everyone returned safe and unharmed.

At around 11:30 p.m., a journalist from the nearby Courier-Jourier saw broken window panes and graffiti spray painted on the network’s building, the newspaper reported.

Doug Proffitt, an anchor on WHAS 11, reported on air later that night that a group of protesters had come down Chestnut Street towards the station’s building and that “it was a frightening situation.” He also said WHAS staff had suffered effects from tear gas that entered the building, but didn’t elaborate.

The network didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists being assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas, or having their equipment damaged while covering protests across the country. Find these incidents here.

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