Violence against journalists covering George Floyd protests in US cities increase

Washington DC [USA], June 2 (ANI): Dozens of journalists covering the protests in US cities over the death of African American man George Floyd have claimed that they have been beaten, chased and even shot at.

There have been at least 100 reports of violence against journalists who were on the ground covering protests in the last four days or so, The Wall Street Journal reported citing executive director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon. Reporters at CNN and Vice Media were arrested in Minneapolis in recent days while covering the protests.

"I have not heard previously in the United States of journalists consistently alleging that they have been targetted with violence even after identifying themselves as journalists," Simon said.

The WSJ reported that a correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News, Garrett Haake, said that he still has several welts from the unidentified projectiles that were fired at him on Sunday night by what he thinks were US Park Police officers in Washington.

Haake said that he and his camera crew were trying to run away from the police who were trying to clear the roads near the White House when he felt a sharp pain in his lower back. He said that it felt like rubber pellets. He and his team were also hit by eggs by the protesters on Sunday night.

"The police were trying to clear that intersection using the tools at their disposal. We got stuck in the middle. That is the nature of the job," Haake said.

The police spokesperson has declined to comment, according to WSJ.

Unrest erupted across the US after the death Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody.The 46-year-old's death has sparked outrage across the nation. Floyd was detained and subsequently died in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

A bystander video recording showed a policeman kneeling on Floyd's neck for at least eight minutes, while Floyd kept saying that he could not breathe. A total of four police officers involved in the arrest have been fired. Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer involved in the death Floyd has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Despite the action against police officers, protests continue to rage across the country.

Similarly, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi said that he was covering a protest in Minneapolis Saturday night when police officers began launching tear gas canisters near his crew. He also said that he and his crew were hit by a projectile.

The state patrol on Sunday advised press members to display their credentials prominently to avoid being confused with protestors.

Journalists also claimed that they were targetted because of the organisation they worked for.

A reported for Fox News, Leland Vittert, said that protestors near the White House attacked them on Saturday. He said that protestors began chasing his camera crew and pelting them with objects after a member of the crowd identified them as Fox News employees.

"He found a picture of me on Fox News, said, 'This is the guy who works for Fox News,' and the group attacked," Vittert said.

In a memo, Fox News Media Chief Executive Suzanne Scott denounced the attack on Vittert.

"We strongly condemn these actions against Fox News media reporting teams as well as all other reporters from any media outlets who are simply trying to do their jobs and report the news during an extraordinary time in our country's history," Scott said.

A Wall Street Journal reporter, Tyler Blint-Welsh, tweeted on Sunday that officers from the New York City Police Department hit him in the face multiple times with their riot shields, causing him to hurt his ankle and break his glasses.

Omar Jimenez, a correspondent for CNN, was taken into custody on live TV with his crew on Friday and quickly released after CNN President Jeff Zucker intervened by calling Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. (ANI)