The New York Police Department (NYPD) told The Associated Press it would “review” an incident where the wire service said their journalists were shoved and surrounded by officers while covering protests.
Part of the confrontation was captured on video, with NYPD officers seen pushing back on the two journalists who were covering a demonstration in New York City against the police killing of George Floyd. One officer is heard using expletives while ordering the two to go home.
The AP said that more than half a dozen officers confronted the journalists as they captured footage blocks from One World Trade Center. The incident occurred shortly after an 8 p.m. curfew in the city took effect.
The video journalist Robert Bumsted and photographer Maye-E Wong are heard explaining to an NYPD officer that they are media and therefore deemed essential under the city’s curfew.
“Who are you essential to?” one officer repeatedly yelled at the journalists.
“I don’t give a s---,” another told Bumsted. “Get the f--- out of here you piece of s---.”
this is terrifying: the NYPD yelling "who are you essential to" at AP reporters, who identified themselves as essential workers that are legally allowed to be outside documenting protests. https://t.co/IfxgwEQodx— Anna Nicolaou (@annaknicolaou) June 3, 2020
The NYPD told the AP it would “review this as soon as possible.” The police department did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill on Wednesday.
“The role of journalists is to report the news on behalf of the public,” AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said in a statement. “It is unacceptable and deeply troubling when journalists are harassed simply for doing their job.”
The NYPD has faced scrutiny in recent days over its handling of protests in the city, including videos showing them lurching through protesters in SUVs and another of an officer pushing a woman to the ground.
Dozens of journalists across the country have reported being arrested or hurt by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds since protests started last week over the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.