US police union disregards attack on Australian TV crew, says reporters were ‘INDISTINGUISHABLE’ from George Floyd protesters
“All labor unions in the United States have a duty to defend their members,” said Kenneth Spencer, the head of the Fraternal Order of the US Park Police Labor Committee. “Our union will be doing the same in this matter.”
The union head further cited the US “Privacy Act” and the pending investigation as reasons not to disclose the officer’s identity. Earlier, the Park Police said it launched a probe into the incident and assigned two officers apparently involved in the matter to “administrative duties” for the time being.Also on rt.com ‘Wanton thuggery’: Outraged Australia to probe US police attack on its journalists covering White House protest
Spencer, however, attempted to defend his colleagues. He said the journalists simply failed to make themselves “distinguishable” enough from ordinary protesters.
Amid loud noise and “lack of readily identifiable journalist markings,” correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers of the 7News outlet were not “readily indistinguishable from violent protesters,” the union head said. “We wish the Australian reporting team well and simply wish that the circumstances of their visit had been better.”
Brace was hit with a baton, while Myers was attacked with a riot shield as the police were dispersing the crowd in an incident that was caught on video as the journalists were covering the rally on June 2. The attack sparked a wave of outrage in Australia and the broadcaster now plans to file a formal complaint with the US authorities. The Australian embassy in Washington was also tasked with investigating the matter.
The US envoy in Canberra, Arthur Culvahouse Jr., rushed to smooth over the differences by saying that the US takes “mistreatment of journalists seriously” and remains “steadfast in our commitment to protecting journalists.”
A statement from Ambassador Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. pic.twitter.com/EW5aPaptjE— US Embassy Canberra (@USAembassyinOZ) June 2, 2020
The incident with the Australian crew was one of many such instances of journalists covering protests in the US being targeted by law enforcement as America has been engulfed by a massive wave of protests over the death of George Floyd, an African American killed during detention.
A US journalist, Nicole Roussell, working for Russian news outlet Sputnik was hit with “rubber bullets” as she was covering protests near the White House on the very same day the Australian crew was attacked.
The alleged reason for dispersing the crowd on that particular day also sparked criticism in the US since the police cleared the road to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, where President Donald Trump held a photo op on that day. Trump later denied he had personally ordered the dispersal of protesters.Also on rt.com Cops FIRE rubber bullets at Sputnik journalist covering White House protests, outlet says
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