Posted on August 16, 2016

Angry After Milwaukee Police Shooting, Protesters Turn Against Media, Too

John Eligon and Kay Nolan, New York Times, August 15, 2016

Demonstrators upset over an officer-involved shooting here took out their frustration on the police and property during street demonstrations over the weekend, but they also directed their anger at the news media.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that its reporters and photographers were chased from the scene of the protests, and one of its reporters was punched. A local television station, CBS 58, said its journalists on the scene were attacked and its equipment stolen while covering the demonstrations. Another station, TMJ4, said it had pulled its crews from the streets because of threats of violence.

Other news organizations were similarly removing their journalists from the field and assessing how to cover the story while ensuring that their reporters were not caught in the crossfire of gunshots, bricks and rubber bullets.

The hostility toward journalists underscores the frustration on Milwaukee’s north side, where many in the predominantly black population feel that they have long been mistreated. Joblessness and poverty are high, and the police are frequently out in force.

“It’s about the portrayal of the black community by white media,” said Keyon Jackson-Malone, a community advocate who lives in North Milwaukee and hosts a black talk radio show. “Our stories get mixed.”

Of the protesters who were hostile toward the news media, he added, “They probably just didn’t want them there because of how it’s usually portrayed.”

Mr. Jackson-Malone pointed to an episode over the summer in which a group of black people and the police engaged in a tense standoff after officers confronted a teenager who had cursed at them. News reports later said the standoff had been the result of two children causing a melee, when that was not the case, Mr. Jackson-Malone said.

The nighttime standoffs over the weekend between protesters and the police were so intense that Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee called for the enforcement of a curfew from 10 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. Tuesday for anyone under 17.