Sorgi_block camera_0531_Boston.jpg

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

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]

Related Incidents

Freelance photojournalist hit with projectiles, arrested while documenting protests in Worcester, Mass.

June 1, 2020
Freelance photojournalist Richard Cummings was arrested and charged with failure to disperse and other charges while documenting a protest against police violence in Worcester, Massachusetts, on June 1, 2020.Cummings told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he went to the protest that day to photograph from a distance, but added he didn’t stay long before heading for the Main South neighborhood to continue work on a long-term documentary project on the area.Cummings said that at around 9:30 p.m. he noticed …

Journalist hit with pepper ball, sprayed with chemical irritant while covering protest in Omaha

November 22, 2020
Journalist Ross Mosier was hit with a pepper ball and an unidentified crowd-control spray used by police officers while covering a protest in Omaha, Nebraska, on Nov. 22, 2020.On the night of Nov. 22, protesters had gathered outside the central headquarters of the Omaha Police Department in downtown Omaha. The demonstrators were protesting against the Nov. 19 killing of a Nebraska man, Kenneth Jones, by a police officer, and demanding that authorities release body cam footage of the incident.Mosier is …
More related incidents