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Reuters cameraman hit by rubber bullets in US protests

Two members of a Reuters TV crew were hit by rubber bullets and injured in Minneapolis on Saturday night when police moved into an area occupied by about 500 protesters.

Footage taken by cameraman Julio-Cesar Chavez (photo) showed a police officer aiming directly at him as police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd.


"A police officer that I'm filming turns around points his rubber-bullet rifle straight at me," said Chavez.


Minutes later, Chavez and Reuters security adviser Rodney Seward were struck by rubber bullets as they took cover at a nearby petrol station.


On footage captured as they ran for safety, several shots are heard ringing out and Seward yells, "I've been hit in the face by a rubber bullet."


Asked about the incident, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder requested a copy of the video and made no immediate comment.


Seward is seen in later footage being treated by a medic near the scene for a deep gash under his left eye. Both men sustained injuries to their arms, and Chavez was hit in the back of the neck.


The Reuters staff were clearly identified as members of the news media. Chavez was holding a camera and wearing his press pass around his neck. Seward was wearing a bullet proof vest with a press label attached.


The incident was the latest attack on a journalist covering the protests that have erupted around the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


A black CNN journalist was arrested on camera while covering the protests in Minneapolis on Friday.


The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, according to The New York Times, had received about 10 reports involving journalists during the recent protesting, ranging from assaults to menacing. ■