US riot police were broadcast live on air using aggressive force to push and knock down an Australian reporter and her cameraman as they covered the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington DC, prompting an investigation by the Australian embassy.
Amelia Brace, a reporter for Australian television network Channel 7, was broadcasting from the White House with cameraman Timothy Myers when police plouged into the crowd with riot shields, firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them.
Footage of the police barrelling at the camera and shoving the news team was viewed over a million times in a matter of hours. In another angle of the incident filmed by a protester, an officer can be seen hitting Ms Brace on the back with a baton.
News anchors back in the studio can be heard asking Ms Brace if she and her cameraman are okay, and she later replies: “We’ve just had to run about a block as police moved in, we’ve been fired at with rubber bullets, my cameraman has been hit.
“We’ve also seen tear gas being used. You heard us telling that we were media, but they don’t care. They are being indiscriminate at the moment.
“They were quite violent and they do not care who they’re targeting at the moment.”
Craig McPherson, the network’s director of news and public affairs, said in a statement: “The attack on our reporter and cameraman in Washington today is nothing short of wanton thuggery.
“They weren’t in anyone’s way, just simply doing their job. To be belted with an armoured shield and then our reporter cop a truncheon in the back is abhorrent.
“The prime minister has informed us he’s been in touch with our embassy in Washington to have the matter urgently investigated. We are making our own complaints through the appropriate channels.”
Foreign minister Marisa Payne told ABC radio the government has asked its embassy in the US to register its concerns with local authorities in Washington about the apparent assault.
“We have asked the Australian embassy in Washington DC to investigate this incident,” she said.
— Amelia Brace (@AmeliaBrace)June 1, 2020
“I want to get further advice on how we would go about registering Australia’s strong concerns with the responsible local authorities in Washington.
“So our embassy in the United States will approach the relevant authorities and Channel 7 will also provide us with their views on how they wish to deal with it.”
The incident is the latest in a string of police attacks on members of the press covering the demonstrations erupting across the US, in protest over police brutality against people of colour and the murder of George Floyd.
Additional reporting by Reuters