Independent video journalist Mason Lake confirmed to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was assaulted by a group of individuals on June 24, 2022, in Portland, Oregon, while covering demonstrations in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the landmark case of Roe v. Wade.
Lake told the Tracker that he was livestreaming the speeches and capturing video of more than a thousand people marching toward downtown Portland when individuals assaulted him for reporting during the event.
“I went out there to stream the event because, sadly, there hasn’t been a lot of coverage in Portland because of all the hate that the press has gotten here lately,” Lake said.
Lake said he was wearing a vest labeled “press” on the front and back for the duration of the demonstration. He identified the individuals as being in black bloc, a technique of dressing in all black to avoid identification.
Lake said individuals came up behind him before shoving him and knocking his phone, which he was using to stream the event, out of his hand. He said his phone was not damaged but he lost a stylus and a phone case that were attached to it.
After he picked up his phone, Lake said one of the individuals grabbed him by the vest and forced him to leave the event.
“Everyone should have the right to be at these events, especially when it's in the middle of the city,” Lake said. “I take real issue with this and I know there’s a real danger in doing this but that’s why I keep coming out.”
Find press freedom violations documented by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker at reproductive rights demonstrations across the U.S. here.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with comment from Mason Lake.