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31 May, 2020 16:39

US photojournalist hit by ‘non-lethal round’ & pushed to ground by Minnesota police as camera keeps rolling

US photojournalist hit by ‘non-lethal round’ & pushed to ground by Minnesota police as camera keeps rolling

A veteran photographer with a Minnesota CBS station was handcuffed by heavily armed officers despite clearly identifying himself as a journalist. The coercive action was caught on film.

Tom Aviles was covering the brewing unrest in South Minneapolis, the focus of nationwide rallies for George Floyd, a local African American who died at the hands of police. The footage provided by WCCO, a local CBS branch, shows members of the Minnesota State Patrol, equipped with riot gear, clearing a street and moving in his direction.

“I’m with WCCO,” Aviles tells officers, identifying himself as a member of local media. After a while, one policeman chases down the reporter and violently wrestles him to the ground.

“I’m not fighting! I’m not fighting!” the journalist is heard saying repeatedly.

WCCO wrote that Aviles, an award-winning veteran photojournalist, was also hit by what was described as “a non-lethal round.” He was covering the demonstrations with the station’s news producer Joan Gilbertson, who told the station that officers said, “You’ve been warned – the same thing will happen to you. You’re next.”

Aviles was released after spending several hours in police custody.

Protests have been raging in Minneapolis for the fifth day in a row, following the killing of Floyd. City authorities imposed a nighttime curfew on Friday and activated the National Guard to enforce it.

Many protesters violated the restrictions, however, engaging in confrontations with the guardsmen and riot squads.

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