UPDATE: Reporter Now Pressing Charges in Attack During Protest
UPDATE: Earlier today, the Duluth Police Department announced the photojournalist involved in an attack at a Trump protest would not press charges in the case.
Duluth police now say the victim expressed the desire to move forward with seeking charges. Authorities are forwarding the case to the City Attorney’s Office for review of misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct.
DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth Police Department announced on their Facebook page Friday that they have identified the individual that punched a cellphone out of a reporter’s hand Wednesday near President Trump’s rally at the Duluth airport.
On Thursday the Duluth Police Department posted a widely shared video of the incident and asked for the public’s help in identifying the individual.
The incident happened on Wednesday when WCCO-TV photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun was filming people gathered near Duluth’s airport before Trump’s campaign visit on Wednesday when he zeroed in on a man confronting Joe Biden supporters.
Chhoun’s footage shows the man says, “You guys want to be peaceful? Be peaceful. You want to be violent? Come to me.” He then turns and punches Chhoun’s phone.
Chhoun was not hurt and his phone wasn’t damaged, WCCO reported. It said Chhoun had identified himself as a member of the media and has experience covering protests, including the unrest in the Twin Cities after the death of George Floyd.
“I take personal exception when anyone puts my guy in danger,” WCCO assignment manager Guy Still tweeted, adding: “You want to see a true American patriot? Look no further. Thank you Dymanh.”
Politicians from both parties spoke out against the attack. Minnesota’s Democratic party released a statement Thursday calling for the state’s Republican party to formally condemn it.
“Political violence is never acceptable under any circumstances,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said. “It is essential that political campaigns remain peaceful and that everyone treats members of the media with the respect they deserve.”
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis tweeted that the attack was “very upsetting,” and said police should investigate.
“Freedom of the Press is protected by the Constitution, and that needs to be understood and respected,” Lewis said.