Eric Rosenwald, a freelance video journalist, was struck with crowd-control munitions while documenting protests in Tucson, Arizona, on May 30, 2020.
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.
Rosenwald told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker he had been photographing a group of 10 to 20 individuals who had begun violently engaging with police. They had erected a makeshift structure in the middle of the road that they were sheltering behind as they threw rocks and water bottles toward a line of officers some 100 yards away. Nearby, someone had set a dumpster on fire.
Rosenwald said he was moving around, photographing other individuals who were throwing rocks from behind a building, when police began to advance toward the makeshift structure. When they advanced, Rosenwald found himself standing very close to the protesters.
“My backpack got hit as I was moving away,” he said.
He was identifiable as a journalist, carrying his cameras as well as a backpack adorned with “PRESS” patches, but does not feel as though he was targeted. “I was so close to the people who were constructing these barrier structures to throw rocks from, that I had no sense I was being targeted.”
Rosenwald did not suffer any injuries from the pepper balls, nor was his equipment damaged.
Tucson Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on this incident.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas or who had their equipment damaged in the course of reporting. Find all incidents related to Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests here.