U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Video journalist attacked, sprayed with chemical irritant while covering anti-vaccine rally in LA

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 14, 2021

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
Yes

Equipment Damage

August 14, 2021

Jake Lee Green, an independent video journalist for News2Share, a collective that sells footage to news outlets, was slapped, kicked and sprayed with a chemical irritant while covering an anti-vaccination rally in Los Angeles, California, on Aug. 14, 2021.

Green told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he was covering the “stop socialism, choose freedom march against medical tyranny” rally, a demonstration outside LA’s City Hall, where demonstrators gathered to protest against mask and vaccination mandates.

When counterprotesters arrived, Green moved away from the gathering to record a brawl that had broken out on the outskirts of the rally. Footage of the incident shared on Twitter shows an individual slap Green, who was wearing a black ballistic helmet and flak jacket, both labeled “PRESS.”

Video footage shows the same person then swinging a helmet at Green while a second individual kicked Green and then grabbed at his camera in an attempt to pull it away. In footage captured by Green, he is heard identifying himself as a journalist.

Green said he backed away from the crowd to readjust his camera equipment and refocus his camera on the escalating violence when someone sprayed him with pepper gel.

“I couldn't see anything and then I felt someone grab my camera, start pulling at it, and that’s when my mic broke off and damaged the screen on the side,” Green said.

Green said the attack damaged his microphone but he attempted to keep recording until the pain from the irritant became unbearable.

Green told the Tracker he did not file a police report about the incident. At least two other journalists were assaulted by individuals during the rally.

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