Stop attacking journalists covering protests, Canadian Association of Journalists pleads

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is calling on police forces in the United States to stop assaulting journalists in the country to cover the recent protests.

The call comes after CBC journalist Susan Ormiston’s report that U.S. police shot at her with rubber bullets and Radio-Canada journalist Philippe LeBlanc’s report that police slashed his tires.

“Some officers are purposely injuring reporters. It’s positively nightmarish; they are out of control,” CAJ president Karyn Pugliese said. “We’re not armed and we’re not dangerous, unless you believe the truth is dangerous. So, I’m begging police, please stop.”

Ormiston and LeBlanc are not the only Canadian reporters who have had problematic interactions with police while covering the protests. Barbara Davidson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, said she was pushed from behind by police after identifying herself as a journalist.

“I was hit so hard that I went flying before crashing to the ground and hitting the back of my head on a fire hydrant. Protesters picked me up, preventing me from being crushed,” Davidson tweeted.

Many reporters have been injured and arrested while covering the protests. Linda Tirado, a freelance journalist who has written for the Guardian, was blinded in one eye after being struck with what she believes was a rubber bullet. Additionally, CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arbitrarily detained live on air by the Minneapolis police force.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she had directed her country’s ambassador to the U.S. to investigate an incident where a reporter and a cameraman were punched and bashed with a riot shield. This occurred during U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial move to use law enforcement officers to clear peaceful protests around the White House.

Protests have sprung up around the U.S. and the world following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The officer has been charged with second-degree murder and three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Solidarity protests have taken place in many Canadian cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Fort McMurray.