Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked the country’s embassy in the United States to register concerns over an incident that happened yesterday as police cleared Lafayette Park before the president walked from the White House to St. John’s Church. It appears a cameraman and reporter Network Seven came under assault as police moved through the crowd.
Channel 7 correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were broadcasting live when the police began to move the crowd so the president and his entourage had a clear path to the church. Myers was hit with a police shield. From the video, it appears another officer hit both him and the reporter with a baton.
If the news station wants to file a formal complaint, the government will support that.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the Australian government would support Channel Seven, where the cameraman worked, should it wish to lodge its concerns over the incident in Washington with U.S. authorities through the embassy there.
“I want to get further advice on how we would go about registering Australia’s strong concerns with the responsible local authorities in Washington,” Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“So our embassy in the United States will approach the relevant authorities, and Channel Seven will also provide us with their views on how they wish to deal with it.”
Take a look for yourself:
— Matt Bevan 🎙 (@MatthewBevan) June 2, 2020
You can hear the female reporter in this clip speaking with newscasters in Australia:
— Dylan Reeve (@DylanReeve) June 2, 2020
Amelia Brace says that she identified herself as “media” and calls the police response as “indiscriminate”.
“They were quite violent and they do not care who they’re targeting at the moment,” she said on-air, adding that they were firing rubber bullets throughout the crowd.
Brace said that she and her videographer were trying to move but police kept pushing forward, rushing the crowd to edge protesters out of the park.
“There was no choice but for us to hide in that corner and hope they would pass by … as you saw in those pictures, they did not,” she said.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) June 1, 2020
Prime Minister Morrison called the attack “troubling” and spoke with the news station to check on the crew. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese condemned the attack.
Mr Albanese said Australia’s ambassador to the United States should make representations on their behalf.
“In a democratic society the role of the media is critical, and it’s important the media are able to report on events, including crises such as we’re seeing in the United States, free from harassment,” he told reporters.
“The violence that has occurred towards members of the media is completely unacceptable.”
In Minneapolis on Monday, a Nine Network crew was detained and searched by Minneapolis Police. It is reported that a reporter, cameraman, and a security guard were handcuffed but soon released without incident. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has written to the U.S. ambassador in Canberra to protest the attacks on journalists. Naturally, they blame the bad Orange Man for all of the violence and chaos it produces.
The union said Donald Trump’s anti-media rhetoric had contributed to law enforcement agencies and protesters openly targeting journalists.
The US Ambassador to Australia, Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr, said “freedom of the press is a right Australians and Americans hold dear”.
“We take mistreatment of journalists seriously, as do all who take democracy seriously,” he said in a statement.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting journalists and guaranteeing equal justice under law for all.”
It can be noted that Australia has its own race relations problems, yet the virtue-signaling is strong.
An investigation has been opened in Sydney into the arrest of a 17-year-old of aboriginal descent after video footage appeared on social media showing him being handcuffed and kicked to the ground after an argument with police.
The constable involved has been put on restricted duties while the investigation takes place.
“This is not the United States of America,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Wiling told reporters. “We have very, very good relations with our local community. I’m concerned that people will pre-empt the outcomes of the investigation and draw conclusions prior to that.”
Not the United States of America? Buzz off, Mr. Wiling. Tend to your own country’s problems.