George Floyd riots: US journalists beaten, arrested, shot at, maimed for life

Reporters have become the latest punching bags of America, copping flak from both sides of the conflict as they cover the riots currently sweeping through the nation. From being shot at, arrested, beaten and even maimed for life, the fourth estate is under attack on all sides.
Just hours ago, a Fox News reporter was pummelled and chased by protesters who had gathered outside the White House as part of nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd.
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The Fox News reporter, Leland Vittert, was swarmed by protesters and sworn at profusely.
Flanked by two security guards, he and photographer Christian Galdabini walked away from Washington’s Lafayette Park trailed by an angry group of protesters before they were dispersed by riot police.
“We took a good thumping,” Vittert told The Associated Press. “The protesters stopped protesting whatever it was they were protesting and turned on us.”
He compared it to when he was chased away from a demonstration in Egypt during the Arab Spring of 2011 by a group that shouted, “Fox News hates Muslims”.
Meanwhile in Phoenix, a CBS reporter was tackled live on camera, as a protester made a grab for her microphone.
The journalist, Briana Whitney, described the ordeal as “terrifying” and said she felt “violated”.
Demonstrators also broke windows and vandalised the Atlanta office building where CNN is headquartered, on Friday.
CNN correspondent Nick Valencia began reporting on the frightening scene from a stairway inside the building, behind a phalanx of SWAT officers in the lobby, with an angry mob standing on the other side of the broken and missing plate glass.
One photographer captured the dramatic moment police broke into the CNN headquarters, to get rioters out of the building.
As if it’s hard enough to do their jobs, American journalists are also under attack by law enforcement – who are more historically opposed to the fourth estate.
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested in Minneapolis during a live broadcast of protests.
Jimenez was taken into police custody while speaking live to camera on Friday night, despite identifying himself to officers.
A producer and camera operator were also placed in handcuffs.
Note the way the clip ends with some dodgy shots of the ground, as the cameraman himself is forced to put down his camera as he is arrested.
Chilling footage has also emerged of police officers shooting directly at a reporter and her cameraman, live on-air yesterday.
Wave 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust was reporting live on the ground at protests against police brutality in Louisville, Kentucky when officers appeared to target her and the cameraman.
The pair were both hit repeatedly by rubber bullets, and viewers at home got a “bird’s eye view of what it’s like to get shot” as one officer pointed his weapon directly into the camera.
Within seconds, Rust could be heard screaming in terror off-camera.
“I’m getting shot!” she yelled. “Rubber bullets, rubber bullets, it’s those pepper bullets, I’m OK,” she said.
“Who are they aiming that at?” asked one of the anchor.
“At us! Directly at us!” she said, as one officer raised his weapon and pointed it directly at the camera.
Another journalist wasn’t quite so lucky, with the bullet finding its mark. The freelancer was hit by a rubber bullet in her left eye, and it has left her permanently blind.
Linda Tirado was photographing the protests in Minneapolis when she was shot in the face with what’s believed to be a rubber bullet fired by police.
She said protesters took her to hospital after the police shot her, giving her medical supplies and acting as her eyes after her own became bloodied and swollen.
After surgery, Tirado learned the incident had left her permanently blind in her left eye.
LA Times journalist Molly Hennessey-Fiske claimed she had a teargas canister thrown at her and a dozen other members of the media at point-blank range.
Her eyes were red-rimmed as she spoke directly to the camera, still reporting despite the ordeal.
“I was with a group of media. There was at least a dozen of us there … I had a notebook in my hand when the Minnesota State Patrol started advancing on protesters – and us,” Hennessey-Fiske said.
“We identified ourselves as press and they fired tear gas canisters on us at point-blank range.
“I asked them, ‘Where do we go, where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go, they didn’t direct us, they just fired on us.”
However, it will take more than this to stop journalist’s doing their jobs. As can be seen, journalists often continue.
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