U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Two journalists assaulted while covering protest in Salt Lake City

Incident Details

Date of Incident
July 13, 2019


Was the journalist targeted?
Courtesy Jeremy Harmon

Larry Curtis, a web editor for Salt Lake City’s KUTV 2News, attempts to protect his colleague, photojournalist Matthew Michela, during a protest near City Hall on July 9, 2019.

— Courtesy Jeremy Harmon
July 13, 2019

Larry Curtis, a web editor for KUTV 2News was assaulted on July 9, 2019, while covering a protest in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Matthew Michela, a photojournalist for KUTV filmed a verbal confrontation as it escalated into a physical scuffle. “It was my job to capture the good and the bad; that’s when the man approached me and put his hand on the lens,” Michela told KUTV.

In the video Michela captured, the man is heard saying, “Stop fucking filming! Turn around!” Michela responds, “I have a right to be here, sir.” The man, holding his hand over the lens, responds, “Fuck you, no. No!”

Curtis wrote in an account published by the outlet, that he “was also at the protest doing a live video on Facebook and rushed into the fray” when he saw Michela surrounded by protesters. In a photo taken by Harmon, Curtis can be seen inserting himself between Michela and some of the protesters.

Photos and video taken during the incident show a woman attempting to pull out the cord from the back of Michela’s camera and an arm reaching behind him to pull the camera off his shoulder.

Michela told the Tracker, “Larry came over and broke up the fight before it got too involved.” In the process, Curtis wrote in his account, his credentials were pulled off from around his neck and his shirt was ripped.

According to the Tribune, eight people were ultimately arrested over the course of the protest.

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