WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Park Police said it has placed two officers on administrative leave after video showed two Australian journalists being attacked during Monday night’s protest in Washington, D.C.
Acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan said the attack is being investigated.
Video captured by WJLA-TV in Washington showed reporter Amanda Brace and cameraman Tim Myers being assaulted as law enforcement officials cleared an area near the White House so President Donald Trump could walk to a nearby church that had been damaged during the demonstrations the previous night.
The journalists were reporting live for Australia’s Channel 7 on the demonstrations protesting George Floyd’s death at police hands in Minnesota.
“As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two U.S. Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press,” Monahan said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Australia’s ambassador to the United States has complained about the attack that the network’s news director Craig McPherson described as “nothing short of wanton thuggery.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged Australians involved in Floyd-related anti-racism protests around the world to be “extremely cautious” after attacks on Australian journalists in Washington and on Wednesday in London.
“In terms of some of the violence … that we’re seeing around the world today, for those Australians who find themselves in those situations, I would urge them to show great caution,” Morrison told reporters.
“These are dangerous situations, people should exercise great care in where they’re placing themselves,” he added.
Two Nine Network television crews also came under attack from crowds while reporting on protests in London on Wednesday, the network reported. None was seriously hurt.
Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.