City Paper Photo Editor J.M. Giordano was tackled and beaten by Baltimore City police outside of Western District headquarters last night while covering protests over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
In a video shot by City Paper Managing Editor Baynard Woods you can see Giordano, wearing a green jacket, and a protester, both of whom had just been knocked to the ground by police, being beaten as Woods yells, “He’s a photographer! He’s press!”
Giordano says he was standing next to the protester in the video, facing the police line, at about 12:30 when someone threw a rock which hit a police officer’s shield.
“They mobilized,” he says. The police line moved forward and Giordano did not move fast enough for them. “I always move at the last second,” he says. Five or six police officers in riot gear hit Giordano and the other protester with their shields, knocking them to the ground.
“They just swarmed over me,” he says. “I got hit. My head hit the ground. They were hitting me, then someone pulled me out.”
“I kept shooting it,” he says. “As soon as I got up I started taking pictures.” He says the guy who was next to him (who did not throw anything, he is sure) got arrested and was loaded into a van. Joe was not. He thinks it is because police recognized him as a local reporter and figured arresting him would cause a backlash.
“They [police] tried to block me from shooting.”
He says Reuters photographer Sait Serkan Gurbuz, who was standing nearby, did get arrested and taken away in the police van, and was later released and cited for disorderly conduct.
Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the incident. Giordano suffered minor injuries on his arm, but will continue documenting the protests.