I was hit with a truncheon, says Aussie reporter
Australian reporter Amelia Brace has described how police in Washington kept attacking her and cameraman Tim Myers when they knew they were working media.
"I can't say if we were targeted," she said to a House committee hearing into the June 1 incident.
"It was clear we were working press, and even after my cameraman Tim Myers was assaulted, and it was acknowledged very clearly we were press, I was then hit across the back with a truncheon as I was trying to move away."
Brace was one of four witnesses testifying at the committee hearing, and detailed the violence that preceded a controversial "photo opp" for US President Donald Trump outside the White House.
She said a number of assaults by police on working media during civil unrest had "shocked" her.
"As a reporter, I have no interest in becoming the story. But over recent weeks, many of us have been left with no choice, I've been shocked to see how many journalists have been attacked, beaten and detained just for doing their jobs," Brace said.
"Covering protests does carry unavoidable risk, but the media's role is essential. We don't just have a right to be there, we have an obligation.
"As Australian journalists we are the eyes and the ears of our people, in this case witnessing civil unrest in the capital of our most powerful and closest allies.
"It is crucial to democracy that journalists be allowed to do their jobs freely and safely. And that is certainly something we should expect in the world's greatest democracy."
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press also expressed "grave concern" about the "recent attack on an Australian news crew during protests outside the White House".
In a letter to the US House Committee on Natural Resources, which was holding the hearing in Washington, the advocacy group "emphasised the importance of news reporting on police activity and the severity of the First Amendment violation when police infringe on newsgathering".
Brace and cameraman Tim Myers were filmed being pushed with shields and struck with batons as riot police tried to clear the Lafayette Square area of protesters.
The US Correspondent for Seven News was in the middle of a live-cross with Sunrise detailing the chaos when the pair was assaulted again.
"We've been fired at with rubber bullets, my cameraman has been hit, we've also seen tear gas being used," Brace said in the dramatic footage.
The crowd in which Brace was standing then started moving as they were pushed back, and a black clad-officer punched his fist into the camera Myers was holding.
Afterwards, Brace said: "You heard us yelling there that we were media but they don't care. They are being indiscriminate at the moment."
"They do not care who they are targeting at the moment," Brace said.
The incident came before Mr Trump and senior members of his administration posed for photos outside a historic church that had been vandalised the night before during demonstrations.
Reverend Mariann Budde, who described the incident as "outrageous", will also appear before the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Originally published as I was hit with a truncheon, says Aussie reporter