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Federal prosecutor vows to probe threats, assaults on journalists during Capitol riot

Federal prosecutor vows to probe threats, assaults on journalists during Capitol riot
© UPI Photo

The top federal prosecutor for Washington, D.C., on Tuesday promised to investigate threats and assaults on journalists who were covering the deadly riot at the Capitol last week.

Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia who's leading the investigation and prosecutions following the riot, said his office is aware of reports of violence and harassment against reporters during the incident.

"Such violence will not be tolerated," Sherwin said in a statement. "We are resolutely committed to upholding the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, including speech, peaceful assembly, and press, and we will investigate, prosecute, and hold accountable anyone who attempts to obstruct or curtail these freedoms through violence or intimidation." 

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The prosecutor invited the public to send tips to his office regarding the targeting of journalists.

Sherwin's office has charged about 55 people with a range of crimes since the violent mob stormed the Capitol last Wednesday. He has said that more cases could follow as the investigation unfolds, including against those who may have incited the violence.

Photographs, videos and personal accounts from reporters who were at the Capitol indicate that journalists were among those targeted as the mob of Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol.

In one video, John Minchillo, a photographer for The Associated Press, can be seen being dragged and shoved violently through a crowd outside the Capitol building. 

Erin Schaff, a New York Times photographer, gave her account of being assaulted by a group of protesters who had stormed the Capitol.

Images posted on social media show that the words "murder the media" had been written on a door in the building during the riot.

Five people died amid the rioting last Wednesday, including a woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer and an officer who died after fending off rioters.