Protests over the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd erupted in cities across the country on Thursday night into Friday, and journalists from a variety of outlets have been assaulted. CNN’s Omar Jimenez was arrested by Minnesota state police (and released about an hour later), and his employer had the entrance to its Atlanta bureau defaced later in the day. A female reporter for the NBC affiliate in Louisville, Ky., was shot with pepper balls by a police officer.
And those are just a couple of examples.
Fox News wasn’t spared. Correspondent Leland Vittert was covering the protests in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Park (steps away from the White House) when he was suddenly attacked by a mob of protesters in our nation’s capital.
After a protester lunged at Vittert while he was reporting on air, the team ran out of the park, with the hostile and growing crowd in pursuit.
Vittert and the crew were punched and hit with projectiles as they fled, and a Fox News camera was broken.
Chants of “F*ck Fox News” could be heard at various moments.
Vittert is one of the network’s most accomplished news reporters, spending a good chunk of his career reporting from international war zones. Last night’s experience ranked right up there with the worst, he said.
“This was the scariest situation I’ve been in since I got chased out of Tahrir Square by a mob, and this was equally scary,” said Vittert, referring to his coverage of the 2011 Arab Spring and ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The network’s crew, which consisted of Vittert, Fox News cameraman Christian Galdabini and two security staffers—one of whom was punched in the face and knocked to the ground—made it out of the park and found a police car a few blocks away. Vittert said the cop at the wheel refused to get out of the squad car, even as he pounded on the window, surrounded by the mob.
Vittert praised the security team for helping guide the team to safety.
“I give a lot of credit to them,” Vittert said of his security team early Saturday.
BREAKING: Fox News’ @LelandVittert & crew robbed and assaulted while covering protest outside of the White House
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 30, 2020
Protestors at the White House realize Leland Vittert works for Fox News, chase him out of Lafayette Square shouting “FUCK FOX NEWS”: pic.twitter.com/KQc29PFEPe
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) May 30, 2020