The prime minister of Australia has called for an investigation into the assault of an Australian cameraman that aired live on a national television news show on Tuesday morning, Australia time. That's Monday evening in Washington, DC, where the attack occurred.
Amelia Brace, a reporter for Australia's Channel 7, and her cameraman, Tim Myers, were covering a protest near the White House in Washington, DC. It was around 6:30pm—half an hour before a 7pm curfew was scheduled to start.
"We've just had to run about a block as police moved in," Brace said as she stood amid protesters outside the White House. "We've been fired at with rubber bullets. My cameraman has been hit."
"Here they come moving through again," she said as the police line started to move, with protesters sprinting to stay out of the cops' way.
Brace and Myers themselves apparently didn't move quickly enough for the police. As the line approached, the looming figure of a masked policeman filled the frame. Then the cop's fist came directly at the camera and it fell to the ground with a thud.
The audio feed was silent for a few seconds. "Amelia can you hear us?" one of the news anchors asked from Australia.
Finally Brace reappeared onscreen. "You heard us yelling there that we were media, but they don't care. They're being indiscriminate at the moment."
"You really saw the way that they dealt with my cameraman, Tim. They're quite violent, and they do not care who they are targeting at the moment."
Attacks on reporters have become common
The incident caught the attention of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called for an investigation into the way Brace and Myers were treated by US police.
Australia's foreign minister said that Morrison had "contacted the Australian Embassy in Washington DC on Tuesday instructing them to investigate the troubling incident and provide further advice on registering the Australian government's concern."
Arthur Culvahouse, the US ambassador to Australia, expressed concern about the incident on Tuesday.
"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."
American cops' harsh treatment of journalists has not been limited to foreigners, nor has it been limited to Washington, DC. A few days ago, police in Minnesota arrested CNN reporters as they reported live on protests in the state. Like Brace and Myers, they seemed to be doing their best to comply with the orders of law enforcement prior to their arrest.
According to a tally by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, 38 journalists have been attacked by police and 12 journalists have been arrested so far in 2020.