Leland Vittert was covering protests over the death of George Floyd near the White House late on Friday when he began to be harassed by some of the more aggressive demonstrators.
Vittert and his crew toughed out several more tolerable brushes with angry protesters and continued to report as they were screamed at and their filming was interrupted. However, Vittert and his crew were forced to shut down and retreat to their vehicles when the violence from protesters escalated.
Saturday saw reporters and media personalities across the spectrum condemning attacks on those reporting from the field.
The Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi was joined by CNN’s Seung Min Kim in condemning the attacks on their fellow journalist.
Politico‘s Andrew Desidero called the protesters’ actions toward his fellow journalist “disgraceful,” and Town Hall‘s Guy Benson called the event an “unacceptable and outrageous attack on the free press.”
Georgetown professor Ron Christie spoke for many when he tweeted thanks to Vittert for reporting the news.
“What happened last night was nothing short of disgusting. Stand Strong. As Bret Baier always says: ‘Fair, balanced and unafraid.’ Thank you once again.”
In addition to being pushed and shoved by angered protesters, liquid was splashed at the retreating journalist, and according to one voice off-camera, some small objects were hurled.
According to The Hill, one of Vittert’s two security staffers was punched in the face and knocked to the ground as they attempted to exit the crowded protest after dark on Friday.
Scary stuff here captured by the Daily Caller of Fox News anchor/reporter Leland Vittert and crew trying to get out of Lafayette Park in DC last night. One security officer was punched in the face, objects thrown. Riot police had to be called in. https://t.co/XtcYfvyTbf
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) May 30, 2020
According to The Hill, Vittert is no stranger to covering conflict-ridden zones. Throughout the course of his career, the Fox News correspondent has reported from many hotspots, including Cairo, Libya, and the West Bank. However, he reportedly said Friday’s incident was the scariest he has encountered since 2011 in Egypt.
“This was the scariest situation I’ve been in since I got chased out of Tahrir Square by a mob, and this was equally scary,” said Vittert.
Vittert and his crew encountered just one chapter of angry protesters who have been demonstrating across the nation all week after a video of Floyd’s death went viral. The 46-year-old African American man’s death and words “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry against police brutality across the nation.
Those protests are believed to have been instrumental in drawing quick attention to Floyd’s death, which led to the officer involved being arrested and charged with murder, as The Inquisitr previously reported.