June 1, 2020
Shock and dismay cannot begin to describe our reaction to reports we have seen from around the nation showing police directing gratuitous violence at journalists. These reporters, photographers, and producers, were on the scene covering the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Journalists and others have photographed or shot
video of numerous instances of the police targeting journalists at work on the scene.
In one instance in Louisville, a local TV news crew with a van and the full complement of production equipment caught on video an officer firing pepper spray directly at them. The reporter was hit with pepper spray and reacts in disbelief as the officer points the pepper gun right at the camera.
No such violence has been directed at working journalists represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, to the best of our knowledge. We thank District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for exempting credentialed media from the curfew order issued May 31. We call on mayors, police departments, and other civil
authorities around the country to follow their example and recognize the role of working journalists in covering these events. They must exhibit zero tolerance of police violence toward working journalists.
Washington-Baltimore News Guild
Steven D. Cook