Several journalists reporting on the protests in Minneapolis on Saturday were teargassed as police worked to impose an evening curfew, just a day after a CNN reporter in the city was arrested live on air.
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, a Los Angeles Times journalist reporting outside the fifth police precinct in Minneapolis, said she was standing with a group of roughly a dozen journalists when Minnesota state patrol “fired teargas canisters on us at point-blank range”.
Hennesy-Fiske said the group had clearly identified themselves as journalists, and asked the officers where they should move to. “They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said in a video shared on Twitter. She added she had been hit in the leg.
Protests went out in Minneapolis for the fifth night in a row, following the death of George Floyd in police custody on Monday. Minneapolis authorities on Friday had imposed a nighttime curfew, which many protesters violated. The Minnesota governor on Saturday announced the deployment of the state national guard to the city to enforce the curfew.
Minneapolis saw running confrontations between protesters and police throughout the night, with authorities apparently taking a much harder line to enforce a curfew than they had during violence on Friday.
Also reporting from Minneapolis, MSNBC journalist Ali Velshi said he was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet. “State police supported by national guard fired unprovoked into an entirely peaceful rally,” he said.
A photographer with WCCO, a local CBS station, was also arrested on Saturday night, taken into custody by state patrol. The station published video of the arrest, which showed the photographer, Tom Aviles, attempting to follow police’s orders, asking the officers where he should go and repeatedly saying he was with WCCO, until police took him down to the ground and arrested him.
Aviles was also hit with a rubber bullet, the station reported, adding: “We’ve called our CBS attorneys, and they’re working on freeing him.” WCCO’s article on the arrest said veteran producer Joan Gilbertson was also with Aviles, and that a patrolmen told her: “You’ve been warned, or the same thing will happen to you. Or you’re next.”
Gilbertson picked up Aviles’ camera and recorded what happened
State patrol did not immediately comment on their claims.