Reporter Donovan Farley was assaulted by Portland Police at a protest on June 7, 2020. Video of the incident is embedded below. In the video Farley can be seen filming the police make an arrest when an officer noticed him filming. That officer then took out his baton and approached Farley, Farley held his ground and continued to film, the officer grabbed Farley and tried to shove him along, he argued with the officer, the officer struck him with a baton and sprayed him with pepper spray, Farley walked away, the officer sprayed him in the back as he walked away, and eventually Farley is able to escape.
We were not sure what exactly happened when we first noticed the video yesterday, but today we recognized the footage in a news story (see link above this article). That story included the following account of the incident written by Farley in his own words:
Tonight I was seriously assaulted by the Portland Police Department in the course of covering the protests. If you've been following my work you know this is not the first time. This was very different. Nothing that I have experienced was close to tonight. At the end of the protest, when the police charged and forced everyone to disperse, I was doing a journalist's duty: observing and staying out of the way of the phalanx of law enforcement and clouds of gas. All of the protesters had scattered, the park was essentially empty minus the police.
Suddenly I heard a man shouting those words that by now should be so familiar to us all: "Officer! Officer! I can't breathe man!" I jogged about ten feet away to a scene of three cops with their knees on a manand one, of course, had his knee on the man's neck. As the man sputtered and spit and gasped, I, for reasons that I'm sure are clear, shouted to get the fuck off his neck. This is the moment a fourth officer approached, reaching for his baton.
We exchanged the usual "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" and "I'm press!" with an added "Get off that fucking guy!" For this, I was absolutely crushed in the lower thigh by the cop's baton. Three inches lower and my knee explodes, but this sort of blow is to be expected. However as I turned to hobble-run away, he began swinging his baton at the back of my shoulder, neck and head area. As I am very familiar with American law enforcement, their techniques (the actual ones) and their feelings of impunity when it comes to violence, I expected a couple of blows and tensed my shoulders so when they came I was fine. What I did not expect was the cop to keep chasing mewe had now traversed about 15 feet, he was chasing meand to start doing sword type stabs at my head and neck. When he finally landed one it hit me directly between my shoulders where your neck meets your back. As everyone who has ever had a neck injury or almost had one knows, every cell in my body tensed up involuntarily as that sort of injury can end you. Though egregious, this was not the issue. The issue was as soon as I involuntarily spun around and said "Hey my nec" the officer shot me directly in the face with not the handheld can of mace, but the crowd control mace that looks like a fire extinguisher and is meant for, well, a crowd. He was so closeone inch from my eyesand the burst was so intense that for the first second I thought he had taken out the big canister and punched me with it.
He definitely did not have the mace out when he first struck me, so as he was following me he reached for it. This was not a reaction under pressure, I was no threat. He thought this out.
I stumbled away through the park and have no recall of how I did so or how I crossed two streets without getting hit by a car, but I eventually fell over on a side street where I poured two containers of tear gas solution mix into my face and then vomited into my face mask. As I sat there totally blind and in the most unbelievably searing pain of my life a different cop started screaming at me to get the fuck up and move, and I, from my grotesque puddle, shouted "I'm press and I can't fucking s" before vomiting again.
Fortunately some antifa kid, who I could not see, ran over to me despite being warned not to and scooped me up and helped me away from the cops. I was so covered in tear gas he said he couldn't see after helping me, and he touched me for all of five seconds. Before he ran off he said "Man are you sure they didn't hit you with a baton in the face? Holy shit your eyes!"
I stumbled around downtown in that state for awhile, 95% blind and holding my arms out mumbling ohfuckohfuckohfuck until a random photographer (SHOUT OUT TO JEFF!) corralled me, gave me water and drove me home. That was two hours ago. I still can't see right and the pain remains tremendous.
I have a video of the man with cops on him, and I'll share more about this after speaking with my editor, but I got a taste of what law enforcement across America is doing to the press. Simply: I was chased and assaulted because I was a journalist who caught law enforcement behaving in the exact illegal fashion that started this nationwide uproar. There can be no equivocations about it. I was purposefully harmed to send an extremely painful message of intimidation.
Well those dumb bastards should have shot me, because I'm not going anywhere. This has only redoubled my determination.