Unknown individuals damaged two vehicles belonging to ABC affiliate KOLO as the channel’s journalists reported on protests in Reno, Nevada, on May 30, 2020, the channel’s news director told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
The protests were held in response to a video showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the United States since the end of May.
Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters marched through downtown Reno, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. But police intervened with tear gas after a splinter group began to damage City Hall shortly after 7 p.m. Officials declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and imposed a curfew.
KOLO News Director Stanton Tang told the Tracker that unknown individuals attempted but failed to overturn one of the station’s news vehicles. The vehicle’s windshield and rear window were shattered.
Videos submitted to KOLO’s user content page show the vehicle parked a couple blocks from City Hall. One video shows someone repeatedly hit the side of the car before another person body-slams the front of it amid cheers. Another shows someone jump on the hood and repeatedly stomp on the windshield. A third shows a group of people attempt, but fail, to tip the car over.
Tang said another vehicle suffered multiple dents and a shattered side window. He said a rock was found inside the car.
Tang said he believed both vehicles were targeted because they were news vehicles.
A photo provided to the Tracker by photojournalist Ty O’Neil, who was on assignment for This Is Reno, shows a white vehicle with large KOLO branding on the side with a shattered front left window. O’Neil told the Tracker he took the photo a few blocks from City Hall on Mill Street.
The station filed a police report about the incidents, but no suspects had been identified, Tang said.
The Reno Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.
Police chief and acting city manager Jason Soto said that the department was reviewing video and media reports to make arrests for crimes committed during the protests, according to This Is Reno.
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.