WGN_equip damage_0530_IL

WGN news van vandalized in Chicago during protests

May 30, 2020

A van for television network WGN News was vandalized by unidentified individuals during protests in Chicago, Illinois, 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 on May 25. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Protests against police violence and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been held across the U.S. since the end of May.

A spokesperson for WGN said the van was in Chicago’s downtown near the Wrigley Building when the incident occurred. “Our truck was parked seemingly out of harm’s way—but then the protests spread to that area,” spokesperson Gary Weitman told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in an email. “No specific groups were involved—one person started spray-painting, and then others joined in."

Weitman said no crew member was hurt in the incident, but declined to elaborate on details of the incident’s timing or location.

Mark Guarino, the Chicago correspondent for the Washington Post, told the Tracker that he saw the van, which had been covered in graffiti and crude language, driving north on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago at around 6:30 p.m. on May 30. A few minutes later he posted an image of the van to Twitter.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting several hundred incidents of journalists being assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd control ammunition or tear gas, or having 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]

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