freedom of the press?

New York police shove, scream profanities at AP reporters, force them to stop covering protests

June 3, 2020

About 60 million Americans were under curfew in 200 cities on Tuesday night, the eighth day of protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. Thousands turned out in Washington, D.C, and hundreds stayed out after the 7 a.m. curfew, which federal and military police spread throughout the capital did not enforce, The Washington Post reports. Many showed up for the first time in response to Monday night's crackdown.

In New York City, thousands remained out after the 8 p.m. curfew, but throughout the U.S. things appeared to be calmer than on previous nights. Journalists are exempt from New York City's curfew, but New York Police officers surrounded two Associated Press reporters just after 8 p.m Tuesday night and shoved and screamed profanities at them until they left. Videojournalist Robert Bumsted, documenting the protests in lower Manhattan with photographer Maye-E Wong, captured some of it on video.

Both journalists were wearing AP identification and told police they were media, and Bumsted reminded one officer screaming at him that journalists are "essential workers" who are legally allowed to be out after curfew. "I don't give a s--t," one officer said. "Essential to who?" another yelled. "Who are you essential to? Who are you essential to?! Get back!" Still another cop tells Bumsted to "get the f--- out of here you piece of s--t." They separated Wong and Bumsted and only allowed them to reunite when Bumsted said Wong had the keys to his car.

NYPD officials told AP the department would "review this as soon as possible." AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said journalists "report the news on behalf the public" and "it is unacceptable and deeply troubling when journalists are harassed simply for doing their job." Police in other cities have shot reporters with pepper balls and rubber bullets, gassed them, arrested them, and otherwise harassed them for no evident reason. Peter Weber