Posted on April 30, 2015

Five Journalists Beaten and Robbed by Rioters While Covering Baltimore Violence

Ashley Collman, Daily Mail, April 28, 2015

Journalists in Baltimore, Maryland got a taste of war reporting Monday night as they covered the race riots that broke out in the city in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death.

In the violence that broke out in clashes between police and rogue protesters, at least five reporters and cameramen were injured, according to journalism organization Poynter.

All of the journalists targeted on Monday say they were attacked by the rioters–and not police.

A cameraman for CCTV, a Chinese news station that focuses on issues impacting Asia and Latin America, posted a photo showing blood streaming down his face after a  protester beat him and stole his camera.

Another cameraman named Oliver Janney told Poynter that he was attacked while filming the chaos live for CNN.

‘I have a broken nose and three stitches in my upper lip,’ Janney told Poynter.

‘I got jumped covering Baltimore violence. Broken nose, busted lip, phone stolen. I’m ok,’ he later tweeted.

A Baltimore Sun reporter tweeted around 9pm that one of the paper’s photographers had been attacked by a group of rioters while trying to take pictures on Howard Street.

‘People were yelling at him “stop taking pictures,”‘ Sun writer Carrie Wells tweeted.

Wells says the group then ran after Assaf, tackled him to the ground and beat him while he was laying helpless. And Wells says police ‘didn’t really help’.

‘I ran around the cover from where my colleague was being beaten and screamed at large group of police to help and they backed away from me,’ Wells said.

Luckily Assaf was able to escape and make it to the hospital where he was treated for a bruise to his face.

He later tweeted a picture of himself, saying he was ‘not the only one in the emergency room who got beat up tonight.’

Another Baltimore Sun journalist, reporter Justin Fenton, also said he was attacked but that a member of the Bloods gang helped him pull him to safety.

Washington Post reporter Petula Devorak was also targeted by opportunistic rioters, but came away from the burning Baltimore having experienced an act of kindness.

Devorak says she was taking down notes on her phone when someone bumped into her and grabbed the device.

‘I chased after him, screaming, and other protesters knocked into me, tripped me and shoved me to the ground. They circled around me, some with bricks or rocks or bottles in their hands.

‘But one boy pushed through the crowd and pulled me up, another came to my other side. “We’ll get your phone back, come over here,” he said, pulling me away from the knot of teens and toward some other journalists, one of whom had a bloody scrape on his head,’ Devorak wrote.

Baltimore TV reporter Christie Ileto with WJZ was also injured, when she was accidentally sprayed with mace by a protester. She says police helped flush her eyes of the burning liquid.

Meanwhile, CBS 21 photojournalist William Speiders posted a picture of their news truck riddled with nearly a handful of small holes caused by the protesters throwing rocks at police.

Following the afternoon of violence, 15 police officers were injured with at least two in a serious condition.

After several businesses were looted and set on fire, the governor of Maryland called in the National Guard and a curfew was put in place for minors.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised to hold rioters accountable for the damage.

The violence on Monday comes just two days after a reporter for Russia Today had her purse stolen while reporting on the Gray demonstrations.

Video shows the moment Gray protesters robbed Pauling Leonovich of her handbag.

At first, the men only to want to get their message across–one addresses the camera to say ‘Rest in peace to my man Freddie G’.

But as others gather they start to jeering anti-police messages and get rowdier–eventually coming so close to Leonovich that she falls over.

Seconds later she gets up and starts chasing a man down the street, shouting ‘Give it back . . . give me back my bag!’ He is then tackled to the floor by police.

Leonovich can be heard crying on the footage, which ends shortly after the arrest.

The Russian reporter works for Ruptly, a video agency owned by the Putin-sponsored Russia Today network, which has devoted extensive resources to covering civil unrest in the U.S.

That same night, City paper photographer J.M. Giordano posted video showing the moment he was tackled by police while covering Saturday’s marches.