Police Fire Pepper Balls at TV Reporter, Crew during Live Coverage of Louisville Protests
By Staff, Agencies
The ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality appears alive and well amongst cops in the United States. The latest example came during protests over the death of George Floyd in Kentucky where police fired pepper balls at a TV news crew.
WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust and her team were broadcasting live from the scene of demonstrations in downtown Louisville when an officer clad in riot gear suddenly fired off a volley of rounds at the journalist.
“I’m getting shot” the reporter could be heard exclaiming in shock after being blasted by the non-lethal rounds. The coverage shows Rust’s startled colleagues in studio asking her if she is alright. As the pain and surprise subsides, the reporter says “rubber bullets, rubber bullets, it’s okay, it’s those pepper bullets.”
The anchors then ask who the police were aiming at. “At us,” Rust responds. “Directly at us.”
The team in the studio sounded disturbed by the fact that the police fired the rounds at the TV crew. “Obviously they see the camera!” one of the anchors says on the air.
An officer using a specialized air rifle was seen firing the non-lethal rounds at the reporter and camera crew during the broadcast.
Pepper balls contain chemical irritants similar to pepper spray and are shot in pellets. They are used by law enforcement agencies for riot control and crowd dispersal.
Many cities across the United States have been gripped by demonstrations following the death of George Floyd. The unarmed black man was killed by police in Minneapolis on Monday.
Friday was the second night of protests in Louisville. Seven people were shot and two were hospitalized at protests in the city the previous night, WAVE News reported.