Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, a radio journalist in Los Angeles since 2000, responded with the everyday affirmative when he obtained a request from his editor on a Sunday to cowl some information. He’d be out at that afternoon’s anti-police brutality protests in his house metropolis of Lengthy Seaside. Certain factor.

“The march was taking place like 10 minutes from the place I lived, so I mentioned sure,” Guzman-Lopez recalled. “I obtained prepared, obtained my gear, meals, water, masks and every part.”

Guzman-Lopez didn’t know then, however by day’s finish he’d be reprising parts of a infamous occasion from 50 years in the past, when one other nonwhite L.A. journalist went to cowl an illustration and had a brutal encounter with the police.

The KPCC reporter, sporting press credentials and a blue polo, arrived on the peaceable demonstration on Could 31 and set to work: observing the scene, doing spot interviews, and maintaining a tally of Lengthy Seaside law enforcement officials in riot gear holding a line close to third Road and Pine Avenue.

He known as in particulars to the information broadcast at Southern California Public Radio (FM 89.3). “Simply as I mentioned goodbye to the host, issues modified,” Guzman-Lopez mentioned. “Police officers began to maneuver up, that triggered a few of the protesters to get extra vocal, begin chanting, and yelling louder. That’s once I heard the pop,” he mentioned.

At that second, the reporter felt a “sting” at his throat, and watched as an object bounced to the bottom close to him. It was a rubber bullet. In a daze, Guzman-Lopez ran to a parking zone. A couple of individuals stopped to assist him and observed blood. “I went to my automobile to inform my editor what occurred, and that’s once I tweeted the image that’s gotten round,” he mentioned.

The picture reveals a bloody purple welt proper on the base of Guzman-Lopez’s throat. (Guzman-Lopez continues to be recovering and offered audio of a 30-minute interview he recorded with Nationwide Public Radio.) He later described a sensation of feeling focused — a radio reporter, on the supply of his voice — for doing his job. “I felt it was a direct hit to my throat,” he mentioned.

The Lengthy Seaside Police Division apologized and mentioned it was investigating.

Assaults on journalists by law enforcement officials in the course of the demonstrations that unfold to all 50 states after the killing of George Floyd have alarmed the nation and introduced renewed scrutiny on police practices earlier than giant crowds. In line with watchdog teams, the lots of of assaults against journalists documented on U.S. soil this spring quantity to essentially the most critical menace to 1st Modification protections within the latest historical past of our nation.

In Los Angeles, the photographs and movies displaying journalists being crushed, tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets by regulation enforcement carried an additional prick of ache for anybody who is aware of the title of Ruben Salazar.

He was the Mexican American journalist whose trailblazing profession on the L.A. Occasions coincided with the revolutionary fervor of the Chicano Motion, the youth-led wave of activism and artwork that coalesced round opposition to the Vietnam Battle. On Aug. 29, 1970, Salazar was killed when a sheriff’s deputy shot a tear-gas projectile into the coated doorway of a bar within the chaos of the police melee that adopted the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles.

Salazar, 42, labored as an L.A. Occasions columnist and information director of the upstart Spanish-language information station KMEX on the time. He was sitting contained in the Silver Greenback Bar and Café and was immediately killed.

A National Chicano Moratorium march against the Vietnam War in East L.A. in 1970.

A Nationwide Chicano Moratorium march against the Vietnam Battle in East L.A. in 1970.

(File / Los Angeles Occasions)

No journalists have been injured fatally to this point within the Black Lives Matter protests this yr, however a number of have suffered critical accidents. And for a lot of in Southern California, analogous parts between 1970 and 2020 are arduous to disregard.

“After I noticed Adolfo Guzman-Lopez submit that image of him shot within the neck, the very first thing that popped into my thoughts was Ruben Salazar,” mentioned Mekahlo Medina, a neighborhood broadcast journalist and a former president of the Nationwide Assn. of Hispanic Journalists.

“It apprehensive me lots,” Medina added, notably since this yr is the 50th anniversary of the moratorium, or the Nationwide Chicano Moratorium Committee Against the Vietnam Battle. “We actually didn’t need to see one other [case like] Ruben Salazar.”

Salazar, one of many earliest nonwhite reporters ever printed within the Los Angeles Occasions, constructed a storied profession on the newspaper. He amplified points going through the Mexican American neighborhood, which had lengthy been demonized within the pages of the newspaper, and served for a time as bureau chief in Mexico Metropolis.

His death was dominated an accident after a public inquest that yr, and reconfirmed as unintentional after an official evaluation by the Sheriff’s Division in 2011. But doubts about these conclusions linger, 5 a long time later. At the moment, the Ciudad Juarez-born Salazar is memorialized in a U.S. postage stamp, and in a show within the Globe Foyer of the previous L.A. Occasions constructing downtown. He’s one among 4 Occasions journalists who’ve been killed whereas reporting within the practically 140-year historical past of the newspaper.

Final Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors handed a movement unanimously that asserted the 1st Modification rights of working journalists to doc and examine publicly related information occasions. The movement states that the board “opposes the focusing on, harassment, use of extreme power, and arrest of members of the free press by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division, Los Angeles Police Division, or every other regulation enforcement company in Los Angeles County.”

A law enforcement officer discharges a weapon in the Fairfax District on May 30.

A regulation enforcement officer discharges a weapon within the Fairfax District on Could 30.

(Kent Nishimura/Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Occasions)

The supervisors named particular instances of L.A.-based or L.A.-representing reporters who have been injured or suffered injury to their gear in the course of the George Floyd protests in late Could and early June, together with Cerise Citadel of KCRW (FM 89.9); Lexis-Olivier Ray, a photojournalist and reporter with L.A. Taco; UCLA pupil journalist Jintak Han; and L.A. Occasions workers photographer Luis Sinco, whose digital camera was destroyed by a rubber bullet.

“There was no warning, no,” Citadel mentioned of her case, by which LAPD struck her on the Could 30 protest within the Fairfax District. She spent a number of days in crutches afterwards. “No order to disperse, nobody saying this was an illegal meeting.”

The decision additionally made notice of accidents suffered by two different L.A. Occasions journalists whereas protecting a protest exterior a police precinct in Minneapolis, the place Floyd was killed on Could 25. Nationwide correspondent Molly Hennessy-Fiske and veteran photojournalist Carolyn Cole documented their very own accidents by the hands of the Minnesota State Patrol in items subsequently printed by the newspaper. They mentioned they have been clearly identifiable as members of the press.

“An officer got here so shut I might really feel the total power of the pepper spray go into my left ear and eye,” wrote Cole, a Pulitzer Prize winner who has coated battle zones across the globe. “I’m very lucky that that is the primary time in 25 years on the L.A. Occasions that I’ve been injured. My left cornea has been broken by the pepper spray, however I’m hoping it’ll heal rapidly so I can get again to work.”

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Photographer Carolyn Cole: Struck with pepper spray whereas protecting Floyd protests in Minneapolis

Occasions photographer Carolyn Cole is struck with pepper spray by Minneapolis authorities Saturday whereas protecting protests over George Floyd’s death.

Hennessy-Fiske was hit about six instances within the leg by both rubber bullets or a tear-gas canister, she mentioned, resulting in swelling and bruising, seen in photos she posted on Twitter. She’s again to work this week and is intent on staying centered on the story at giant.

“I’m not going to cease reporting as a result of this occurred,” Hennessy-Fiske mentioned. “If the message is, ‘Go house don’t be reporting,’ my response is I’m going to maintain reporting, and a part of what I’m going to maintain reporting on is you.”

The Occasions is now sending reporters to cowl demonstrations with helmets, along with the masks required as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

Native reporters and photographers mentioned the chaotic days of late Could and early June noticed a number of incidents of police not respecting 1st Modification freedoms as they sought to disperse or comprise demonstrators. In some situations, police appeared unable or unwilling to distinguish between protesters and press. As well as, the reporters struck by regulation enforcement in L.A. County and cited by the supervisors are all nonwhite.

Virginia Espino, a researcher who teaches in regards to the Chicano Moratorium and Salazar’s death at UCLA, mentioned the L.A. press assaults carried an plain racial issue. “I feel a few of these journalists obtained shot at as a result of they weren’t blonde,” Espino mentioned. “Even when that they had their press passes displaying, they have been seen as one of many lots protesting at the moment.”

“It’s one thing I’ve skilled, the place regulation enforcement or individuals in authority query my credentials typically,” mentioned Citadel of KCRW. “And it’s one thing I’ve seen occur to different journalists of coloration.”

Samanta Helou Hernandez, an L.A. freelance journalist and photographer, discovered herself detained by Los Angeles police on June 2 after being chased by officers whereas protecting an illustration exterior Getty Home, the official L.A. mayoral residence in Windsor Sq.. She mentioned she repeatedly informed police she was press. However as a freelancer, she was not carrying credentials issued by a information group. So Helou Hernandez was corralled up with demonstrators.

After speaking to an officer who provided an apology for stopping her, she mentioned, “He principally mentioned should you’re press you must have run towards the police, which to me sounded ridiculous. You’re telling me to cost towards the police whereas they’re in full riot gear, come on.”

She was additionally informed, as a result of she didn’t have credentials, she’d need to be taken downtown to “plead her case.” At that second, she noticed a colleague, Ray of L.A. Taco, who stepped in and pulled up journalistic work by Helou Hernandez to show she was working press. “That’s when the tone actually modified with how I used to be handled,” Helou Hernandez mentioned.

In all, she was held for about an hour-and-a-half.

The Committee to Shield Journalists is investigating at the very least 280 instances of assaults on U.S. press employees since Could 29, “a quantity we now have by no means seen in the US,” the group mentioned in an open letter to mayors and governors. The L.A. chapter of the Society of Skilled Journalists additionally despatched a assertion to native regulation enforcement leaders, urging them to respect press freedoms. The group additionally known as on Los Angeles County Dist.
Atty. Jackie Lacey to prosecute offending officers.

In a press release, Los Angeles Police Capt. Giselle Espinoza, a commanding officer within the Media Relations Division, mentioned the LAPD was “dedicated” to defending these freedoms.

“The connection with the media is essential to the LAPD,” Espinoza wrote. “We’ve got made intensive efforts to work with reporters making certain not solely their security, but in addition their potential to cowl this essential story.”

The sheriff’s division mentioned it additionally stood by protections.

“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division strongly believes within the First Modification and the appropriate for our working press to securely cowl occasions,” the knowledge bureau mentioned in a press release.

However for Guzman-Lopez and others, questions stay. The photographs this yr additionally recalled the so-called Could Day melee of 2007, by which LAPD officers from the Metropolitan Division started attacking press and demonstrators, together with households, after the customary Could 1 festivities and rallies at MacArthur Park. After a long time for the reason that death of Ruben Salazar, have police companies actually adopted a tradition of safety for 1st Modification rights?

“If you concentrate on it, whereas I used to be being detained, I used to be unable to take photographs, unable to report, so take into consideration that data that was misplaced,” Helou Hernandez mentioned. “You might be hindering the press from doing their job, and from getting data out to individuals, so it’s extremely harmful.”

The officer who shot Guzman-Lopez has not been recognized, mentioned Arantxa Chavarria, a public data officer with the Lengthy Seaside Police Division. “Our Chief of Police Robert Luna spoke immediately with Mr. Guzman-Lopez to precise our apologies and to achieve additional perception into the circumstances of the incident,” she mentioned.

“What I used to be doing to get shot at with a rubber bullet?” Guzman-Lopez requested. “Did the police officer miss? Was he aiming at somebody behind me? Was he aiming on the African American man subsequent to me? These persons are fairly good photographs, I suppose.”