Journalists Attacked with Batons, Teenagers with Tear Gas: Shocking Police Brutality on Display in the US

Social Commentary

Journalists Attacked with Batons, Teenagers with Tear Gas: Shocking Police Brutality on Display in the US

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

With the deadly Covid-19 looming in the backdrop, protests have raged across the United States in the last few days over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Rather than take accountability, however, it seems as though the heavily militarised US police have chosen to respond to the latest round of protests in the most aggressive possible manner. A number of images and videos released on Twitter over the last 72 hours have put this shockingly violent behaviour on display.

Across the country, the police have been accused of firing rubber bullets at innocent bystanders, attacking journalists with batons, and teenagers with tear gas. One police car was even filmed driving into a crowd of protestors in New York.

One American publication is now calling the last 72 hours the “most comprehensive live picture of police brutality ever”.

In New York, an African-American man’s mask was removed before he was pepper sprayed in the face, even as he stood, peacefully protesting, with both arms in the air.

In Atlanta, two young African-American men were beaten and shot with taser guns, again, despite no apparent provocation.

Journalists from across state lines were also shot at with rubber bullets while they were out reporting. Disturbing images and videos were shared widely across social media.

One journalist went permanently blind in her left eye after she was shot by the police.

Another journalist was shot in the leg while reporting on the protests, while a young woman who was apparently out buying groceries, and claimed to have nothing to do with the protests, was also struck in the face.

In New York, a woman was violently shoved to the ground and called a “stupid fucking bitch” by an officer. She later tweeted that she could not have spit on the officer, as he alleged she did, because she was wearing a mask at the time.

Members of the National Guard were spotted marching down what looks like a quiet residential street in Minneapolis, before firing a paint gun canister at a woman filming from her own front porch.

Actor John Cusack said he was charged by officers wielding batons when he was filming the Chicago protests on his phone.

Even lawmakers weren’t spared, as this image shared by a New York senator immediately after pepper spray was used on his face, shows.

The images and videos coming in over the last few days are a clear sign that not much has changed in the country since the Ferguson protests that kickstarted the Black Lives Matter movement. And with the president on Sunday pinning the blame on the anti-facist group Antifa, it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon either.