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A Law Enforcement Officer Shot At A Reporter With Pepper Balls While She Covered A Protest On Air

Kaitlin Rust was reporting on air when an officer approached her and her crew and appeared to aim directly at them.

Posted on May 30, 2020, at 11:50 a.m. ET


The Louisville Metro Police Department has apologized after an officer appeared to aim directly at a local reporter covering the protests Friday night to shoot pepper bullets at her and her crew.

Kaitlin Rust, a journalist with the Louisville network Wave 3, is seen in the video standing near a row of Louisville Metro police officers with her mic and camera crew when she starts yelling, "I'm getting shot!" The camera then turns to a uniformed officer who points a pepper ball gun at them and continues shooting.

"Rubber bullets, rubber bullets. I'm OK," Rust says. "It's those pepper bullets."

"Who are they aiming that at?" an anchor asks.

"At us, directly at us!" Rust answers, as the bullets continue pelting her. She also tells her colleagues off air that she doesn't know why they're shooting at her.

Police literally opening fire on the free press.

Louisville, Kentucky, has been rocked by heated protests this week as anger over the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by LMPD officers in her home in March, bubbled over in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis after an officer put him in a knee chokehold.

The LMPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The department's spokesperson Jessie Halladay told CNN they were not able to confirm whether the officer in the video is with the LMPD, though he could be a member of its special response team.

Halladay said Rust should not have been singled out because she is a reporter, if that were the case, and that police do not intend to target members of the media who are covering the protests.

It's not the first time a reporter was targeted by law enforcement while covering the protests against police killings that have roiled the country.

In Minneapolis, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his two colleagues were arrested on air early Friday while covering the protest against Floyd's death. They were released shortly after, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz later apologized, calling it "totally unacceptable."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.