Seattle cop to reporter at Antifa rally: You're inciting conflict

We have to take it on faith from Andy Ngo that his short clips of yesterday’s protest fairly represent what actually happened, that he wasn’t taunting anyone while the recorder was turned off to try to generate juicier footage. But it’s not hard to believe that the mere fact of a stranger with a camera in their midst might make a crowd like this turn hostile. That’s what happened at the protests at Mizzou three years ago, when then-professor Melissa Click infamously called for some “muscle” to remove a reporter who wouldn’t leave a public space that demonstrators had claimed for themselves.

Here’s video of Ngo first encountering the droogs, apparently arrayed on a public sidewalk. Being a member of the public himself, he wanted to make use of that sidewalk. They didn’t care for that idea, as you’ll see in the first clip. In the second clip a cop pipes up to remind them that they can’t impede the movement of passersby, which gets him an earful from the most belligerent demonstrator there.

Ngo stuck around despite the growing hostility so another cop decided to deal with the problem from a different angle — by warning Ngo that he, not the crowd, was “inciting conflict,” apparently by his very presence. Most major American cities are liberal but a city with a police force that threatens to arrest journalists because they’re on Antifa’s turf is next-level “progressive.” Watch the top clip, then watch the bottom one of Ngo’s chat with the belligerent guy and decide for yourself which of the two of them was inciting conflict.

“I moved away from the protest after being told that ‘death is coming,'” Ngo tweeted elsewhere. Good thing too or else PD might have had to haul him in for the crime of provocation with a deadly smartphone in the first degree.

If you want to be charitable to the cop, note that this rally was actually a counterprotest of one being held by a right-wing group; the police may have had special reason to fear violence breaking out given the groups’ proximity, especially since some on the lefty side (and probably the righty one) were carrying. But if all Ngo was doing was filming and (presumably) asking skeptical questions then he wasn’t doing anything any professional reporter on the scene wouldn’t be doing. Reporting can’t be incitement just because an angry mob is angry and mobbish.

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David Strom 1:31 PM on September 30, 2022