A Trump supporter attacked a WCCO photojournalist covering the counter protest ahead of the president's Duluth rally Wednesday evening, according to the Twin Cities TV station.
It happened near the intersection of Airport Road and Venture Avenue just before 6 p.m., the Duluth Police Department said. Protesters and Democratic nominee Joe Biden supporters had lined Airport Road to counter President Donald Trump's campaign rally at the airport.
According to WCCO, photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun, who had identified himself as a member of the media and was recording the video in a public space, was documenting a man confronting a group of people expressing support for Biden when the man punched the camera phone out of his hand. Chhoun was not injured, WCCO said.
“You guys want to be peaceful? Be peaceful! You want to be violent? Come to me and I'll —,” the man said just before he threw a punch. The video ends with Chhoun picking up the phone and another Trump supporter approached him, yelling, while holding a Trump-Pence campaign sign to block his face. The group then backed off, WCCO said.
I am outraged by this violent attack on my @wcco colleague,friend &photojournalist @Dymanh in Duluth- I am so thankful he was not hurt. The venom must stop, our photojournalists are our truest storytellers &this video tells an important,sad & terrifying one. Thx Dymanh pic.twitter.com/9caREau3HS
I am outraged by this violent attack on my @wcco colleague,friend &photojournalist @Dymanh in Duluth- I am so thankful he was not hurt. The venom must stop, our photojournalists are our truest storytellers &this video tells an important,sad & terrifying one. Thx Dymanh pic.twitter.com/9caREau3HS— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) October 1, 2020
The Duluth Police Department said the "disturbance" was reported to them just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, and it is under investigation.
"The male who hit the phone left without incident several minutes before the event was reported to officers," Ingrid Hornibrook, Duluth Police spokesperson, said in a news release Thursday. "There were no injuries or property damage reported in connection with this incident and no citations issued at this time."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 218-730-5020.
The Trump supporter's truck was one of several that drove back and forth along Airport Road during the counter rally. Some Trump supporters waved campaign signs, others displayed thumbs down, and several waved their middle fingers and shouted expletives at the protesters.
Just before the incident with the photojournalist, a protester was seen running alongside a truck that carried the man who threw the punch. The protester was holding a sign up to a man in the passenger seat, shouting back and forth with him.
Aside from this incident, Wednesday's counter rally was peaceful.
As the Airport Road counter rally ended, a couple dozen protesters marched from Airport Road to the intersection of Stebner and Air Base roads, which was blocked by police, down the road from the Trump rally. Protesters there chanted and burned a Trump flag before walking back to their cars on Airport Road.
Organizers had encouraged protesters not to confront Trump supporters.
This story was updated at 3 p.m. Oct. 1 to correct the name of Venture Avenue. The story was originally posted at 12:47 p.m. Oct. 1. The News Tribune regrets the error.