Getty photographer injured, journalists detained at NATO protests in Chicago

National Press Photographers Association | NBC Chicago | Talking to Strangers | The New York Times

Getty photographer Scott Olson was hit on the head by a police baton while covering protests at NATO's summit in Chicago on Sunday. A photo of Olson shows blood running down the side of his head and a gash at his crown. Getty photographer Joshua Lott was arrested, too, says a press release from the National Press Photographers Association. Josh Stearns has compiled photographs of what he says are incidents of journalist "abuse and arrest" at the summit: Olson and Lott's incidents, another photographer getting hit by a bike, reporter Laurie Penny getting shoved by a police officer. Stearns has also been compiling a Storify of unpleasant transactions between journalists and police this month; his collection of items about the NATO protests starts on its second page.

Live-streaming journalist Tim Pool was in a car full of people covering the protests that was pulled over early Sunday morning. A video on shows mostly the interior of a car while its occupants obey Chicago police requests to show them their "fucking hands." In a phone call to NBC Chicago, Pool said the police cuffed and interrogated the group for about 10 minutes, took their credit card numbers and "banged our hard drives against the ground." Pool said police told them they were stopped because their vehicle matched the description of another vehicle they were looking for.

Steve Patton, Chicago's Corporation Counsel, announced at the end of last month that the city wouldn't enforce Illinois' eavesdropping law, which outlaws recording police officers without their consent, during the summit. On May 14 the Justice Department's Civil Rights division wrote in a letter that, "Recording governmental officers engaged in public duties is a form of speech." In an editorial, The New York Times said "It is essential that the Justice Department and federal courts make clear that police departments will be held liable for violating this constitutionally protected right."

Chicago police reported 45 arrests at the summit as well as four injuries to officers, one a stabbing. The Chicago Tribune has a remarkable series of photographs of a clash between one group of police officers and protesters.

Writing in BuzzFeed, Michael Hastings surveys the social landscape at the NATO summit.

They are two separate worlds, the global elite and the protesters. Strangely, the only true connective tissue between these universes is the massive security presence--the thousands of cops, DHS agents, Secret Service, and other well armed men in riot gear--who are there to protect one from the other. The protesters and the summit attendees share a common bond in being surrounded by body armor, snipers, and barricades.

Inside the McCormick Center, where the summit is taking place, Hastings writes: "The international press corps covering NATO must be one of the most boring collectives of journalists ever assembled. They seem very keen on not missing any press releases handed out at the NATO media desk."

Related: Photographer Alex Arbuckle insisted charges police filed against him after shooting an Occupy demonstration in New York be tested: “I was absolutely certain I had not done anything wrong, and I would not accept anything but an immediate dismissal or a trial.” He won.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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