Louisville TV Reporter Shot By Police During Live Broadcast Covering Street Protests, SAG-AFTRA Condemns “Brazen Attack” – Update

WAVE 3

UPDATED 4 PM with SAG-AFTRA Statement: A reporter for an NBC affiliate station in Louisville, KY was fired upon by police Friday night during a live broadcast covering street protests in that city.

Kaitlin Rust, a journalist at WAVE 3, was live on the air when a man wearing a mask and vest that said “police” began firing at her and a colleague.

The Louisville community was already angered by an earlier police shooting in a drug raid at the home of Breonna Taylor, an innocent victim of a wrong address mixup. The situation was further inflamed this week by the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died in police custody in that city.

The reporter’s shooting was posted to Twitter by a viewer and exceeded 1.5 million views within an hour.

In the video, Rust is heard screaming, “I’m getting shot!”

“Katie, are you OK?” asked an in-studio anchor.

“Rubber bullets!” Rust said. “Rubber bullets!” She later amended it to, “It’s OK. It’s those pepper bullets.”

She was asked who they were aiming at.

“At us,” Rust said. “Directly at us.”

Rust and photographer James Dobson were struck and suffered minor injuries. Both were standing behind the police line and were not interfering with law enforcement, a WAVE 3 statement said.

“There is simply no justification for the Louisville police to wantonly open fire, even with pepper balls, on any journalists under any circumstances,” WAVE 3 News General Manager Ken Selvaggi said.

WAVE 3 said the Louisville police acknowledged that one of their officers appeared to have fired and would investigate.

SAG-AFTRA, which represents broadcasters, released a statement protesting the attack on the journalists.

“SAG-AFTRA condemns the reprehensible actions of this police officer who, without provocation or justification, fired upon journalists who were doing their jobs. The assault also had a traumatizing effect on viewers at home who watched the officer aim and fire repeatedly during the live broadcast,” the union said.

“This was a brazen attack on two unarmed citizens. It is also an attack on our democracy and the people’s right to know how those on whom we confer power are using that power.

You can read the full statement below the video.

 

“Last night, a Louisville, KY police officer aimed and fired pepper balls at WAVE3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust and photographer James Dobson. Rust and Dobson are professional journalists represented by SAG-AFTRA who were on assignment covering protests arising out of the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

“When the officer fired on them, they were following police instructions, behind police lines, and were not interfering with police activity. Both Rust and Dobson were obviously in performance of their duties as journalists. They were carrying professional production equipment and Rust was wearing a bright yellow reflective vest.

“SAG-AFTRA condemns the reprehensible actions of this police officer who, without provocation or justification, fired upon journalists who were doing their jobs. The assault also had a traumatizing effect on viewers at home who watched the officer aim and fire repeatedly during the live broadcast.

“This was a brazen attack on two unarmed citizens. It is also an attack on our democracy and the people’s right to know how those on whom we confer power are using that power.

“Whether perpetrated by the public or by the state, acts of violence on journalists bringing news to the communities they serve are a betrayal of our nation’s founding principle that a free press is necessary for the maintenance of a free government. ​

“As citizens of this democratic nation, and as a labor union representing broadcast journalists and other media professionals, SAG-AFTRA unequivocally champions the First Amendment rights of journalists to gather information and report the truth. We stand with any journalist who finds his or her ability to report on our government challenged or compromised.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/05/louisville-reporter-shot-by-police-during-live-broadcast-1202947275/