An Aussie reporter who was “physically assaulted” by US police at a Black Lives Matter protest last month has testified about her ordeal before Congress.
Channel 7 US Correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were reporting from the streets of Washington D.C., not far from the White House, when police punched Myers and hit Brace with a baton, before chasing them away.
“As I began reporting live, the line of police suddenly and without warning began charging forward at a springing pace, knocking protesters to the ground,” Brace told the US House Committee on Natural Resources on Monday.
“A park police officer who was passing us stopped, turned towards Tim, and rammed him in the chest and stomach with the edge of his riot shield, causing Tim to keel over drop down.
“The officer then took a step back, paused, then punched his hand directly into the font of Tim’s camera, grabbing the lens.
“As this happened, both Tim and I were repeatedly shouting the word ‘media’.
“As I was running away, a third officer pushed through the group, going out of his way to strike me with a truncheon.”
A US congressional committee investigating police actions in a park near the @WhiteHouse has been told the “attack” on 7NEWS U.S. Correspondent @AmeliaBrace and her cameraman Tim Myers was unlawful. https://t.co/LlCk4qLw8D #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/FvTS0BL5eI
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) June 29, 2020
Brace also noted that members of the media were supposed to be exempt from the curfew police claimed to be enforcing, which wasn’t even due to start until half an hour after the attack.
“As a reporter I have no interest in becoming the story, but over recent weeks many of us have been left with no choice,” she added.
“I have been shocked to see how many journalists have been attacked, beaten and detained just for doing their jobs.”
Watch the shocking moment 7NEWS reporter Amelia Brace and our cameraman were bashed by a police officer LIVE on air after chaos erupted in Washington DC.
Posted by Sunrise on Monday, 1 June 2020
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School, told the committee the attack was “unlawful”.
“From the video it seems clear to me that any officer could have seen that the Australian journalists were in fact journalists [as opposed to protesters],” he said.
“This one doesn’t strike me as a very close call.”
Similar to an Australian royal commission, US congressional committees are a powerful investigative arm with the power to compel people to testify under oath.
At the time, Aussie Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos and Foreign Minister Marise Payne hit out at the American government over the incident.
This congressional hearing is just one step in the US government’s reckoning with what’s happened
Image: Facebook / Sunrise