A Sunrise reporter who was attacked by United States police while reporting on George Floyd protests in Washington D.C. says she is ‘pretty bruised’.
An officer was filmed using his shield to smash Amelia Brace’s cameraman Tim Myers in the middle of her live cross to the studio before another officer hit her in the back with his baton.
Brace said they were both hit by rubber bullets prior to the altercation, as police used batons and tear gas to push hundreds of protesters back away from the White House.
Brace shouted, ‘We’re media!’ as officers targeted her and Myers.
‘Cameraman Tim Meyers and I are both okay. Pretty bruised, but okay,’ Brace later told Channel 7.
Pictured: The moment a police officer (left) used his shield to smash Channel Seven reporter Amelia Brace’s cameraman during a live TV cross in Washington DC
Brace said they were both hit by rubber bullets prior to the altercation, as police used batons and tear gas to push hundreds of protesters back away from the White House
Amelia Brace was reporting on the riots from Washington before she was targeted. Ms Brace is originally from Queensland but moved to the US as a correspondent for Channel Seven
‘We were at some distance, expecting a crackdown at curfew time… but their surge took everyone by surprise.’
Journalists are exempt from curfews put in place by law enforcement, but Brace said it’s ‘unclear’ if the media are still able to roam freely.
‘The secret service outside our hotel is telling us we can’t leave the area,’ she said.
Brace said she and her crew were targeted at 6.30pm – half an hour before the curfew was due to come into effect.
‘And even then, as media, we’re exempt. To our right we could hear a volley of rubber bullets ring out from the National Guard,’ she told the West Australian.
We sheltered behind a tree and then ducked for cover behind a building that had been burning just 12 hours before.
Our expectation was that the police would pass by in a wave as we’d seen them do as the last curfew was enforced. Pushing protesters back. Aggressively. But not violently.
The demonstration was held in front of the White House in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s address to the nation following a full week of riots.
People are protesting the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who was allegedly killed by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin during an arrest.
Footage which circulated following his death showed Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, even after he lost consciousness.
Officer Derek Chauvin (pictured) was identified as the officer pinning down George Floyd in video footage that was widely shared on Tuesday
Brace, who is the US correspondent for Channel Seven, said riot police aren’t differentiating between protesters and media.
‘You heard us yelling that we were the media but they don’t care. They’re being indiscriminate,’ she said.
‘I’m a bit sore. I managed to get a rubber bullet to the backside and the cameraman got one to the back of the neck so we’ll have a few bruises tomorrow.’
Minutes before the vision was filmed, Brace and her crew were shepherded out of the thick of the protest after they were hit with tear gas and rubber bullets.
‘We just had to run a block as police moved in,’ she said through ragged breath.
‘We’ve been fired at with rubber bullets, my cameraman has been hit, we’ve seen tear gas used… We are surrounded.
‘They do not care who they’re targeting at the moment… You just saw how they were with my cameraman. Quite violent.’
A person jumps on a burning police vehicle in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 30, 2020, during a protest over the death of George Floyd
New York: Protesters on the West Side Highway confronted police officers as they marched Downtown toward City Hall during protests for George Floyd on Saturday in Manhattan
George Floyd’s (pictured) heartbroken family have called white cop Derek Chauvin to be charged with a more serious crime than third-degree murder after their lawyer revealed that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a staggering eight minutes during the arrest for forgery
Brace explained the police were basically ‘moving in a big circle’ in an attempt to secure the protesters.
She said she could ‘barely breathe’ following the use of tear gas and struggled to speak.
The vision 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.
The United States Ambassador to Australia has since addressed the incident in a statement
Lawyer Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., posted details about the requested investigation to Twitter on Tuesday evening.
‘Freedom of the press is a right Australians and Americans hold dear,’ he said.
‘We take mistreatment of journalists seriously, as do all who take democracy seriously.’
‘We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting journalists and guaranteeing equal justice for all’.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese on Tuesday called on the Australian Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos to address the vision with Mr Trump.
‘Our Ambassador should certainly be making representation on behalf of these Australians who have effectively been assaulted for doing their job,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘In a democratic society, the role of the media is crucial. It’s important that the media is able to report on crises, like the one in the United States, free of harassment.
‘The violence that has occurred towards the media, Australian media and domestic media… is completely unacceptable.’
Cabinet minister Greg Hunt said the federal government was always concerned about the wellbeing of Australians overseas.
US President Donald Trump 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
Demonstrators smash a police vehicle in the Fairfax District as they protest the death of George Floyd, in Los Angeles, California on May 30
Cameraman Tim Myers was filming the protest before a police officer punched his camera and whacked him with a riot shield in Washington
‘The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is intensely focused on the safety and welfare of Australians,’ he told reporters.
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.
It comes after a Nine Network crew was detained and searched by Minneapolis Police on Monday.
Reporter Tim Arvier said his cameraman and security guard were handcuffed but the officers were respectful and soon let the Australian crew go.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has written to the US ambassador in Canberra to protest the attacks on journalists covering the civil unrest.
Just 20 minutes from the time the video was filmed, the state’s curfew would come into effect, meaning anybody who was out in public could be arrested.
Pictured: After a peaceful march of hundreds to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Friday
Demonstrators put up their hands to protest the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
Officers were clearing the path for President Trump to walk across the park to pay his respects to St. John’s Church, the historic chapel which was threatened with fire during protests on Sunday night.
Some described the move as a ‘show of defiance against the protesters’.
Trump declared himself the ‘law and order president’ Monday night as he laid down the gauntlet to protesters around the country, ordering them to stand down.
‘I am your president of law and order,’ Trump said in the Rose Garden as law enforcement officials fired rubber bullets and tear gas into protesters in Lafayette Park.
‘If the city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residence, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,’ the president said.
Washington DC: 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 Saturday
Philadelphia: G. Lamar Stewart Sr. carries his son G. Lamar Stewart Jr. as protesters over the death of George Floyd gather at City Hall on Saturday