Detroit mayor apologizes to journalists targeted by police while covering protests

Mayor vows to make adjustments to keep journalists safe

Detroit News reporter Christine MacDonald being handcuffed briefly in Detroit on Sunday.
Detroit News reporter Christine MacDonald being handcuffed briefly in Detroit on Sunday. (Twitter)

DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan apologized to local journalists who were targeted by police while covering George Floyd protests.

Duggan apologized during a press conference Monday with community leaders held to address the ongoing unrest sparked by the death of Floyd.

“They had a lot of courage to be on the other side of the police-line with the protestors, and I apologize to you,” said Duggan, speaking about reporters from the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News who experienced issues with police while covering protests against police brutality.

Detroit News reporter Christine MacDonald was filming an arrest Sunday after 9 p.m. at Grand Circus Park when she was handcuffed by an officer.

She identified herself and told the officer she had credentials. MacDonald went back to the officer’s scout car, and was detained briefly.

Mark Kurlyandchik, restaurant critic and dining reporter for the Detroit Free Press, recounted his experience Sunday with police on Twitter.

“I just got charged by a DPD officer as I was putting my goggles on to protect against the tear gas they shot. Knocked my hat off my head and phone out of my hands. Another officer tried to make us clear the area even though we were standing in the press zone,” Tweeted Kurlyandchik.

Free Press reporter JC Reindl was chased down by a Detroit police officer during a protest Saturday. The officer pepper-sprayed him in the face. Reindl held up his Free Press badge to show he was a reporter.

Duggan called editor and vice president of the Detroit Free Press, Peter Bhatia, and editor and publisher of the Detroit News, Gary Miles, to discuss the incidents that made it difficult for reporters to cover the protests.

“We need to work together to make sure that the media has clear identification,” said Duggan.

He praised Metro Detroit journalists for the work they have been doing covering the protests.

“We do respect the heroism that you showed the last three days and I want all the reporters to know that we are going to make adjustments to use every opportunity to keep you safe,” he said, adding that he deeply admires their work.

Despite Monday’s apology, on Tuesday night Detroit Free Press reporter, Darcie Moran, was handcuffed until one officer noticed her media badge and let her go.

Journalists from other Michigan news outlets also reported being targeted by police, making it difficult to cover this historic time.

MLive reported its staff photographer Nicole Hester was among three journalists hit by pellets fired by Detroit police Saturday.

According to MLive, she was struck by up to a dozen pellets in the face and body.

Floyd died after the knee of an officer was pressed into his neck for minutes, even after he stopped moving. His death has led to outcry and riots against the killings of black people by police officers in cities across the country.

Journalists around the country have been met with aggression while covering the protests. In the latest incident Tuesday night journalists from the Associated Press covering a New York George Floyd protest were surrounded and shoved by officers who cursed at them.

READ: More journalists injured covering George Floyd protests

READ MORE: Donald Trump announces plans to mobilize US military in response to violent protests

About the Author:

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.