WATCH: Louisville Riot Officer Repeatedly Shoots Local TV Camera Crew With Pepper Pellets Live on Air
While reporting live at a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, a local TV reporter and her cameraman were repeatedly shot at — and hit numerous times — with pepper pellets by a law enforcement officer in riot gear.
WAVE-TV reporter Kaitlin Rust was covering her city’s protests, which spun off in solidarity from those in Minneapolis over outrage about the alleged murder of George Floyd by police, and discussing the scene on the ground with her colleagues in the studio when the incident occurred.
As the camera showed two police vehicles creeping down the street, Rust, began to approach a logistics point for protestors stocked with supplies to help combat the effects of tear gas. In the background of the shot, a cordon line of law enforcement officers in riot gear appears.
Seconds later, Rust explained that she is “behind the line” and the anchor in studio told her to “keep going, and go where you gotta go.” As she stepped onto the sidewalk, however, a uniformed figure emerged from the right and quickly approached. Seconds later, Rust suddenly began screaming out.
“I’m getting shot! I’m getting…!” Rust yelled out.
“Katie, are you OK?!” a female anchor in studio asked frantically, as the riot officer walked right into center of the screen and pointed his pellet-ball rifle directly into the camera.
“Rubber bullets, rubber bullets, it’s OK, it’s those pepper bullets,” Rust quickly clarified, as the riot officer appeared to reload his weapon.
“Who are they aiming at?” the female anchor asked, urgently.
“At us! Like, directly at us!” Rust yelled again, as the riot officer unleashed another barrage directly at the camera.
“Now they’re shooting at the photographer,” the male anchor noted simultaneously. “They’re shooting at our crew.”
The camera then suddenly swept away from the incoming pellets and moved back. Moments later, Rust appeared on screen and emphasized, “I don’t know, we were behind their lines,” when asked why the officer targeted her. “They’re telling us to move now, I guess, farther away.”
“You moved exactly where they told you to go, though?!” the male anchor pointed out.
After retreating farther back, Rust explained that the pair were unhurt, but she then confirmed that the cameraman, James, had been hit five or six times.
Summarizing the bizarre incident that just happened, the male anchor said: “We just had the odd situation here, I’ve never seen anything like it before, we’re looking through James’ camera as the officer is aiming directly into the lens of our camera.”
The female anchor then noted the similarity of the just-witnessed barrage on the WAVE-TV crew to the arrest live on air of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his TV crew by the Minneapolis State Patrol.
After the incident, the riot officer who fired on Rust and her photographer was identified as being a Louisville corrections officer and, not a member of the police department.
By the patch on their uniform. Just from living here and being familiar with both, it appears this officer is from Louisville Metro Corrections.
— Toni Konz Tatman (@tkonz) May 30, 2020
Watch the video above, via WAVE-TV, Louisville, Kentucky.
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