UPDATED with Lavandera explaining incident, below: CNN’s Ed Lavandera was knocked to the ground tonight while reporting live on the violent protests in Charlottle, NC. At 9:16 PM ET, as he was catching viewers up on the unrest following the shooting of a black man by a police officer, a man knocked Lavandera down hard with a shoulder. “Ed, are you OK,” anchor Anderson Cooper asked as the reporter quickly rose to his feet. “Yeah yeah, we’re fine, Anderson,” the slightly shaken but uninjured reporter said as he put his earpiece back on. “Just someone taking out their frustration on me. “Ed, if you need to leave that location, that’s fine — just let us know,” Cooper said. “We’re gonna figure out what to do here, Anderson, just give us a second,” the reporter said. CNN then cut to a helicopter shot of the ugly scene.
Lavandera was back on camera about 15 minutes later. “Are you doing OK?” Cooper asked. The reporter, standing in the same spot as earlier, cracked wise. “We’re fine, Anderson,” he said. “I was kind of joking about it — I told my producer that the hit wasn’t — he doesn’t have much of a future in the NFL with a hit like that. But we’re good.”
Way to take one for the team, Ed.
At 10:03 ET, Lavandera was back on the air with anchor Don Lemon, who asked him to explain what had happened. “well, we were just doing the report, and I didn’t see it coming,” he said. “All I heard was someone yelling at me that I need to, quote, tell the truth. The next thing you know, I got kinda blindsided.” But the story doesn’t end there. Lavandera continued: “Oddly enough — I’m trying to find the guy who just came up to me a few moments ago and told me he was the one that knocked me out. I didn’t see the guy. He came upo to me and acutally hugged me and apologized for what he had done. I asked him what had happened, what had made him so angry, and he didn’t really explain anything. I’ve lost him now; I’m trying to find him again. Kind of another odd moment in this surreal evening.”
At 10:42 PM, as CNN aired live scenes of people breaking windows of an apartment building, reporter Boris Sanchez — who had been caught in tear gas live on-air earlier — said, “Uh-oh, here we go!” Just then, a young man with his face covered by a shirt put his hand over the camera lens, causing the videographer to stumble back. No one appeared to be hurt, and Sanchez continued reporting.
Police initially said one protester has been shot to death by another civilian, but the Charlotte PD later tweeted that the victim was on life support. City officials said at one one officer was injured. CNN continued to report live from the scene into the 11 PM ET hour.