The Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, has reached out to the US State Department after a reporter and cameraman for Australia's Seven Network were beaten by police just outside the White House at Lafayette Park.
On Monday, US Park Police and other law enforcement officials violently dispersed peaceful protesters in Washington, DC, using tear gas and rubber bullets outside the White House amid the ongoing protests against police violence and injustice sparked by the shocking, recorded killing of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of a police officer that has since gripped the US and left it in a state of unrest.
Australia's 7News reporter Amelia Brace told her network that both she and her cameraman, Tim Myers, were left "pretty bruised, but okay" after their encounter with police in riot gear outside the White House on June 1.
Although a curfew has been imposed for the nation’s capital beginning at 11 p.m to prevent additional property destruction and looting, Brace pointed out that by law, the media is exempt from the measure. However, the incident happened nearly half an hour before the curfew went into effect on Monday, which was set at 7 p.m. that day.
“But tonight, it’s unclear to us if that’s changed,” Brace added. “The Secret Service outside our hotel is telling us we can’t leave the area.”
"It was an absolutely terrifying experience but we came through it together," Brace stated. She has bruising across her shoulders and red, raised bumps from the rubber bullets.
Two Sputnik correspondents were also injured by the indiscriminate police attack on the crowd, with one receiving large welts from being shot with rubber bullets and a stinger grenade thrown by police.
Australian Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos said in a statement Tuesday that he was "aware of the treatment" inflicted on Brace and Myers by US police.
Sinodinos added that the embassy is providing consular support to the Australian citizens involved and will continue to check on their wellbeing.
“I understand that Channel 7 will make a formal police complaint asking to have the matter investigated. We are in discussion with the State Department and they have offered assistance to identify where the complaint should be targeted,” the Australian ambassador stated.
A statement from Ambassador Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. pic.twitter.com/EW5aPaptjE— US Embassy Canberra (@USAembassyinOZ) June 2, 2020
In a statement shared by the US Embassy in Canberra on Twitter on Tuesday, US Ambassador to Australia Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. wrote that "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.”
The ambassador went on to say, "We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting journalists and guaranteeing equal justice under law for all."