The reporter repeatedly told the officers he was from the press
Daily Mirror journalist Matthew Dresch has shared disturbing footage on Twitter of him being assaulted by police officers during another night of protests in Bristol on Friday night.
In the tweet Dresch says that he was “respectfully observing what was happening and posed no threat to any of the officers.” The video has racked up 1.3 million views and has received thousands of likes and retweets.
Police assaulted me at the Bristol protest even though I told them I was from the press. I was respectfully observing what was happening and posed no threat to any of the officers. I have muted the latter part of the video to spare you all the pain of hearing my shrill voice. pic.twitter.com/a7a0Nnw0bG
— Matthew Dresch (@MatthewDresch) March 27, 2021
Avon and Somerset police have responded to the video, tweeting that they are ”making efforts to contact” Dresch and that “a free press is a cornerstone of our democracy and we fully respect the media’s vital role in reporting events fairly and accurately.”
The clip is one of a number of videos that have emerged today after the protests, with many appearing to show the police using unnecessary force and violence against protestors. They have already come under scrutiny for the claims on Monday that several of their officers had been seriously injured in last weekend’s protests, only to then withdraw them later in the week.
I hope people will express as much outrage at this as they did when the police pretended to have broken bones pic.twitter.com/pIYImoEtm3
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) March 27, 2021
BRISTOL PROTESTS: Police physically confronted a photographer. pic.twitter.com/bJDiB5h3So
— Apex World News (@apexworldnews) March 27, 2021
Earlier this week two reporters from the Bristol Cable were also threatened by officers at the ‘Kill the Bill’ protests, which are against the Police and Crime Commissioning bill. Protestors argue that aspects of the bill go against the right to freedom of speech and political expression, as it grants police in England and Wales the power to impose restrictions on peaceful protests, for reasons such as being a nuisance or even being too noisy.
Boris Johnson has branded the clashes in Bristol as “disgraceful” whilst Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she was “disgusted” by the scenes, labelling the demonstrators as “thugs.”
With Avon and Somerset police saying that they are expecting protests to carry on throughout the weekend as well, expect the stories around clashes between the two sides to carry on for a while yet. The scrutiny on the police is only set to get greater.