May 31, 2020 — There have been multiple incidents over the last few days of police spraying tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets at journalists covering demonstrations and unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.
These assaults — and the on-camera arrest Friday of a CNN reporter of color along with his film crew — represent an attack on the freedoms to which all Americans are entitled under the U.S. Constitution. Reporting, filming and photographing police and protesters on public streets are all essential to informing Americans about what’s happening and why in communities across the country that have erupted in anger and violence.
The Society of Environmental Journalists stands in solidarity with all journalists who’ve been assaulted or arrested. We call on all law enforcement officers and agencies to respect journalists’ First Amendment right to cover the demonstrations as well as police conduct. The people have a right to know, more than ever before, during this critical time.