Reporters were repeatedly and forcefully told to move away, turn around, put down their cameras or simply to leave the area when trying to get close enough to film the scenes of destruction and theft. Most reporters on the scene were simply recording the events as they unfolded — making no effort to interfere or interview participants in the rioting.
Many of the looters carried molotov cocktails and wore bandanas over their faces to conceal their identity. Multiple reporters said demonstrators made repeated threats about being armed or returning with weapons — but no journalist on the scene that POLITICO spoke with reported seeing a weapon.
The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery reported on Twitter that one looter “just threatened to pull knife” on him and other reporter outside a liquor store that was being cleaned of inventory.
POLITICO tried to approach the same liquor store using an iPhone to record the mayhem when we were physically approached by a man who said: “Get that police s**t out of here. … This ain’t no show.”