LA police officer hits reporter with projectile, another points weapon at journalists during Lakers’ celebration

Los Angeles Police Department officers threatened two journalists with a firearm and shot a reporter with a crowd-control munition amid fanfare in downtown Los Angeles, California, on the night of Oct. 11, 2020, according to social media posts from the…

Los Angeles Police Department officers threatened two journalists with a firearm and shot a reporter with a crowd-control munition amid fanfare in downtown Los Angeles, California, on the night of Oct. 11, 2020, according to social media posts from the journalists.

Earlier in the evening, the Los Angeles Lakers had won the NBA championship, drawing thousands of celebrants outside the Staples Center. According to the Los Angeles Times, the festivities “quickly soured,” though, and “the scene devolved into another roving standoff between police in riot gear and throngs of people on the street.” Throughout the summer, Los Angeles and cities across the U.S. saw similar scenes, as thousands took to the streets to protest police brutality. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country.

Beverly Hills Courier reporter Samuel Braslow told the Tracker he arrived downtown after LAPD officers had already started forming a skirmish line with officers in riot gear on foot and mounted police behind them.

“Even as people were complying and moving backward, LAPD officers continued firing less-lethal munitions at the crowd,” Braslow said.

At 9:43 p.m. on Oct. 11, Braslow posted footage of the advancing police line. Approximately 4 seconds into the clip, an officer on the left side of the frame appears to notice Braslow, aims his crowd-control firearm at the journalist and fires.

“Police aimed at me. Less lethal round literally hits my phone out of my hands (credit to apple, it kept recording),” Braslow wrote on Twitter.

Braslow told the Tracker he was holding his phone in front of the face when it was shot out of his hands, and said that it was clear officers were not following directives to aim crowd control munitions at the ground or waist-level.

Braslow said he was wearing a Courier press badge and was carrying a large, professional camera around his neck. He said he was not injured and his phone was not damaged from the incident, He was able to continue posting live reports and footage until about 1:20 a.m.

“I was less surprised than I maybe should have been,” Braslow said, “and I just took it in stride.”

Freelance photojournalist Christian Monterrosa was on assignment for the Associated Press that night. At one point, a police cruiser pulled up near where he was taking photos of Lakers fans.

In a post on Instagram, Monterrosa captioned one of his images, “An LAPD officer points his firearm at Laker fans on the street including a TV news cameraman, and myself, who were documenting it.”

Monterrosa did not respond to request for comment, and the Tracker was unable to identify the cameraman.

Photographer Ricardo Salvador Miranda posted footage on Instagram the following day that captured the scene from a different angle, which he captioned, “LAPD pulls gun on Lakers fans and the Press.”

In the clip, the LAPD officer can be seen jumping out of a cruiser with his pistol drawn, pointing behind the vehicle as multiple objects appear to be thrown in his direction.

The officer quickly gets back into the vehicle just as an object — which appears to be a beer bottle — strikes the passenger side of the cruiser and shatters. The officer once again jumps out of the vehicle with his firearm drawn, aiming at the crowd, when he notices the broadcast cameraman. The officer, lowering his weapon, approaches the videojournalist and appears to indicate that he should move back or out of the area as other projectiles crash around them. The officer then returns to the vehicle.

The Los Angeles Police Department did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

This article has been updated with comment from Beverly Hills Courier reporter Samuel Braslow.


This content originally appeared on U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: All Incidents and was authored by U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: All Incidents.


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U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: All Incidents | Radio Free (2022-01-21T04:43:00+00:00) » LA police officer hits reporter with projectile, another points weapon at journalists during Lakers’ celebration. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2021/02/04/la-police-officer-hits-reporter-with-projectile-another-points-weapon-at-journalists-during-lakers-celebration/.
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" » LA police officer hits reporter with projectile, another points weapon at journalists during Lakers’ celebration." U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: All Incidents | Radio Free - Thursday February 4, 2021, https://www.radiofree.org/2021/02/04/la-police-officer-hits-reporter-with-projectile-another-points-weapon-at-journalists-during-lakers-celebration/
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» LA police officer hits reporter with projectile, another points weapon at journalists during Lakers’ celebration | U.S. Press Freedom Tracker: All Incidents | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2021/02/04/la-police-officer-hits-reporter-with-projectile-another-points-weapon-at-journalists-during-lakers-celebration/ | 2022-01-21T04:43:00+00:00
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