U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Videographer pushed by Portland police officers while covering protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
August 22, 2020
Portland, Oregon


Was the journalist targeted?
August 22, 2020

Police officers shoved videographer Dustin Tolman who was covering protests in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 22, 2020, according to social media posts.

Tolman was documenting one of the many protests that have been held on almost a nightly basis since late May in response to police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the May 25 death of George Floyd. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

Law enforcement officers in Portland have targeted journalists since the outbreak of the demonstrations, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon. The ACLU suit led to a temporary restraining order, and later a preliminary injunction, barring the Portland Police Bureau from harming or impeding journalists.

In the early hours of Aug. 22, Tolman and a group of other journalists were covering a demonstration at the PPB’s North Precinct station. After the gathering was declared a riot around 1 a.m., police used smoke and physical force to disperse protesters, according to Al Jazeera.

In a video shared by Oregon Public Broadcasting journalist Sergio Olmos on Twitter at 12:58 a.m., a police LRAD can be heard warning that “all persons, including press and legal observers,” must move onto Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

About a half hour later, as police were using force to disperse protesters, Tolman was among several journalists, clearly marked as “press,” who were pushed while trying to film an arrest. In a video posted by Olmos at 1:37 a.m., an officer is seen pushing Tolman.

The PPB has said it wouldn't comment on incidents involving journalists covering the protests, citing continuing litigation in the ACLU case.

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