U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Video journalist hit by thrown object during Boston protest; individuals try to steal camera

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 31, 2020

Assault

Was the journalist targeted?
No
Courtesy Jack Sorgi

Jack Sorgi was filming protests for Boston Stringer Media on May 31, 2020, when a man blocked the camera and another tried to steal it. Earlier in the night the journalist was hit with a flying object as well as multiple rounds of pepper spray.

— Courtesy Jack Sorgi
May 31, 2020

Video journalist Jack Sorgi said he was hit on the head by what he believes was a frozen water bottle while filming protests in Boston, Massachusetts, on the night of May 31, 2020. Individuals also tried to prevent him from filming by blocking his camera and attempting to steal it.

The protests were held in response to 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.

Beginning around 11 p.m. on May 31, Sorgi, who owns and runs Boston Stringer Media, which sells video footage to news outlets, filmed a series of tense standoffs between law enforcement and protesters in downtown Boston, the journalist told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in an email.

Sorgi said he believes he was hit accidentally by one of the individuals facing off against dozens of officers that evening. “Throughout the escalating demonstration people repeatedly threw objects (water bottles, fireworks, rocks and pieces of bricks),” he wrote to the Tracker.

“I have no reason to believe I was targeted by any member of the crowd and was hit merely for being close to the police line where objects were being thrown.”

Sorgi said he was wearing a helmet emblazoned with the word “PRESS” and was not seriously injured.

Later that night, while Sorgi was filming people looting a store whose glass front had been shattered, a man held up his hand to block the lens, the journalist said. A few seconds later, another man came from behind him and tried to grab the camera, a Panasonic AG UX90, out of his hand.

In a separate incident earlier that night, Sorgi was pepper-sprayed by police. The Tracker has documented that incident here.

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.

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