Police Officer Punches and Hits Press Cameraman with Shield During Live Broadcast of D.C. Protest
"They're quite violent and they do not care who they're targeting at the moment," 7NEWS correspondent Amelia Brace said during the broadcast
A journalist and a cameraman say they are left with "bruises" after police charged at them during a live broadcast of a protest in Washington, D.C.
In a video of the broadcast, 7NEWS U.S. correspondent Amelia Brace reports that police have been using rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters near Lafayette Park when heavily armored officers begin to charge at the crowd.
One officer can be seen rushing in front of the camera before punching the lens. The screen briefly goes dark before what appears to be Brace and her cameraman, Tim Myers, running away from their spot.
In footage of the incident captured by ABC7 from a different angle, the officer appears to strike Myers' stomach with a shield before hitting the camera. As Brace grabs Myers and runs from the corner where they had been filming, another officer appears to smack the journalist in the back with a baton.
"We are really surrounded by the police," Brace told 7NEWS anchors after the incident. "They're quite violent and they do not care who they're targeting at the moment."
“We were trying to move on, the last thing we ever want is to get in the way, but there was just no opportunity,” she said. "There was no escape at that moment. The police were coming through so quickly that there was nowhere for us to go."
According to Brace, she was also hit in the backside with a rubber bullet during the protest. She told anchors back at the studio that Myers was hit with a projectile on the back of his neck.
"We'll have a few bruises tomorrow," she added.
The incident occurred when law enforcement officials pushed protesters away from the area in preparation for President Donald Trump to walk to St. John's Church, 7NEWS reported.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department told PEOPLE that the officers in the video were not part of their department.
Protests over racial injustice began last week in Minneapolis when footage of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, surfaced online. Since then, demonstrations calling for an end to police brutality have erupted across the nation.
During a White House Rose Garden address on Monday evening, Trump, 73, threatened to mobilize the military amid the nationwide protests.
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"I am your president of law and order and an ally to peaceful protesters," he said. "Our country always wins."
"If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," Trump said, vowing to dispatch "thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers" to bring order.
Trump said in his address a 7 p.m. curfew "will be strictly enforced" in Washington, D.C.