Law enforcement threw flash-bangs three separate times at a high school journalist covering Portland BLM protests

Before going out to cover the Portland protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Eddy Binford-Ross (pictured above) puts on swim goggles, a pink helmet with “press” written on all four sides, a bulletproof vest, and reflective tape spelling out “press” going down her leg. The 17-year-old dresses this way to show law enforcement officers she is a journalist covering the protests.

Still, Binford-Ross says law enforcement officers threw flash-bangs and tear gas at her without visual or auditory warnings three times from July 17-20.

“I expected some sort of confrontation, but it was much more aggressive than I was prepared for,” Binford-Ross said.

She has been going out every night since July 17 to cover the protests as editor-in-chief of South Salem High School’s student newspaper, Clypian. In addition to her articles and photo essays, she's been live-tweeting and uploading video to @Clypian. She was attending the protests legally, and was on the sidewalk clearly identified as press, but police threw the concussive devices at her without warning, temporarily deafening and blinding her.

Read Eddy's full story

SPLC Senior Legal Counsel Mike Hiestand said student journalists covering these protests are getting “a world turned upside down” rather than an education on democracy.

“I hate for Eddy and her generation to have to take this on,” Hiestand said. “But for those of us who are dumbfounded, who can’t even believe what’s going on, it’s people like Eddy providing a shimmer of hope that there are going to be people out there who are going to put things back together.”

Unfortunately, Binford-Ross is just one of many students facing unprecedented violence from law enforcement as they cover these protests. SPLC has an extensive guide to covering protests full of tips for staying safe and avoiding confrontation, as well as reminders of your legal rights.

See the guide

Resources for teaching remotely

Advisers, as you prepare for the fall semester, don't forget the Student Press Law Center has collected some of our best online resources for teachers in one easy to access hub. We've got quizzes, pre-recorded presentations, how to book a speaker from our Virtual Speakers Bureau and more. 

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A: The short story is that you are under no obligation to give that information to the person without a court order. Usually, if a person wants to track down the author of an online comment, the person will have to prove that he exhausted all other options before turning to the media. If you are ever subpoenaed to disclose the author of a comment, contact the SPLC or another media law attorney that will be able to assist you.

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