An Australian reporter who was filmed being ‘attacked’ by police while covering a Black Lives Matter protest has given a confronting account of the attack.
Channel Seven correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were in Washington DC’s Lafayette Square on June 1 covering protests when Park Police began aggressively clearing the area.
Speaking to a US congressional committee investigating the incident, Ms Brace said the police had been shooting non-lethal rounds ‘indiscriminately’ at the crowd leaving her ‘screaming’ for help.
The protests followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes.
Channel Seven correspondent Amelia Brace (pictured) told a US congressional committee how she was ‘attacked’ by police while covering a Black Lives matter protest
Ms Brace and Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University Law School, testified before the US House Committee on Natural Resources on Monday.
The committee is investigating the law enforcement crackdown against peaceful protesters at Lafayette Square ahead of the arrival of US President Donald Trump.
President Trump was making his way to St John’s Episcopal Church for a photo opportunity.
Ms Brace told the committee she was shot in the legs and backside with non-lethal rounds from a police automatic weapon and hit with a truncheon.
She said Mr Myers was shot, punched and struck with a police riot shield.
‘I think that attack was unlawful,’ Mr Turley told the hearing.
Cameraman Tim Myers (pictured) was filming the protest before a police officer punched his camera and whacked him with a riot shield in Washington
‘From the video it seems clear to me that any officer could have seen that the Australian journalists were in fact journalists.
‘They identified themselves correctly as journalists.
Channel Seven’s Amelia Brace (pictured) was filmed screaming as police shot her
‘I thought I saw media credentials on them, but also they knew there were journalists in the area. This one doesn’t strike me as a very close call.’
Ms Brace and Mr Myers were broadcasting live back to Australia when riot police began forming a line in front of them, before they charged at protesters and media members.
‘When you were attacked by this police officer, were you resisting?’ Democrat congressman Ruben Gallego asked Ms Brace.
‘No,’ she replied.
‘Was your cameraman resisting?’ Gallego asked.
‘No,’ Ms Brace replied.
‘You had your back to them, as I remember, and you were fleeing?’ he asked.
‘That’s correct,’ she replied.
Ms Brace told the committee it was imperative for democracy that journalists were allowed to safely report from the scenes of protests.
‘As a reporter I have no interest in becoming the story, but over recent weeks many of us have been left with no choice,’ she said.
Protesters holding banners march from Capitol Hill toward the White House during a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd on May 30 (pictured)
Demonstrators put up their hands to protest the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington (pictured on June 1)
‘I’ve been shocked to see how many journalists have been attacked, beaten and detained, just for doing their jobs.
‘Covering protests does carry unavoidable risks, but the media’s role is essential.
‘We don’t just have a right to be there, we have an obligation.
‘As Australian journalists we are the eyes and the ears of our people.
‘In this case witnessing civil unrest in the capital of our most powerful and closest ally.
‘It is crucial to democracy that journalists be allowed to do their job freely and safely and that is certainly something we should expect in the world’s greatest democracy.’
US President Donald Trump (pictured) holds up a bible in front of St John’s Episcopal church after walking across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington following protests
George Floyd (pictured) died after having his neck knelt on for eight minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis
The footage outraged members of Australian media and parliament, who claim the pair shouldn’t have been moved along for ‘doing their job’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the incident as ‘troubling’ and called for an investigation.
Sunrise hosts Sam Armytage and David Koch were shocked by the outburst, which occurred live on their morning show.
They repeatedly asked whether Brace was okay as she and Mr Myers ran from the crowds.