Photographer Gets Beaten by Baltimore Police, Gets Up and Keeps Shooting Protests


Baltimore photojournalist J. M. Giordano of the City Paper has been on the front lines of protests in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. Yesterday morning, Giordano and another protestor were apparently swarmed by police officers and beaten — and the whole thing was caught on camera.

Reports say that about 100 Baltimore City officers and 30 residents were involved in the early morning clash. When Giordano was pushed to the ground and surrounded by officers, City Paper managing editor Baynard Woods was nearby and managed to shoot some video of the incident.

Me being beat on by several @baltimorepolice. Video by Baynard woods. #freddieGray #baltimore

A video posted by J.m. Giordano (@jmgiordanophoto) on

Woods can be heard repeatedly yelling “He’s a photographer! He’s press!” while the beating is happening.

After the scuffle, Giordano just kept on shooting. While still close to the ground, he captured this photo of another protestor getting beaten:

“They just swarmed over me,” Giordano tells City Paper. “I got hit. My head hit the ground. They were hitting me, then someone pulled me out. I kept shooting it. As soon as I got up I started taking pictures.”

“This video was posted so people could see what happened last night,” Giordano writes. “They also arrested a Reuters photog who was just standing there, so make of that what you will.”

“I imagine that Baynard Woods​’ sonic boom of a voice kept me out of the wagon. His phone died while recording this, so there’s no more footage. But like I said, I never stopped shooting.”

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Reuters photographer, Sait Serkan Gurbuz, was released by police as soon as they realized that he was press. Police captain Eric Kowalczyk is apologizing for the incident, saying that it can be difficult for officers to distinguish between protestors and press, and that the officers were instructed to give press full access to the protests.

Giordano has since turned to social media to say that he is fine, calling the incident an “occupational hazard”:

“Also, I’m concerned about the man who was next to me in the video. The police swarmed over us,” the photojournalist writes. “After getting up, I kept shooting, again, it’s my job, I managed to get shots of him being arrested, as you’ll see later on today.”

“I’m NOT anti-cop. There were quite a few that I’ve seen this week that have been talking to protesters and engaging, one took off his riot helmet just to talk, which I also have photos of. It’s cliche by now, but I don’t take sides.”

You can view Giordano’s front-line photos of the protests on his Instagram account and published in a gallery on City Paper.