'I'm Not Fighting': Veteran WCCO Photographer Shot With Rubber Bullets and Arrested While Covering Protests

Video footage has been released showing the moment a veteran WCCO Photographer was shot with rubber bullets and arrested, even though he clearly identified that he was working for the press.

Award-winning photographer Tom Aviles was covering the fifth day of protests over the death of George Floyd when police officers shot at him with rubber bullets. One of these bullets struck Aviles, and shortly after, he was forced to the ground by the approaching police officers who arrested him. The video captured by Aviles himself shows the whole ordeal where the photographer can be clearly heard saying "I'm from WCCO." This is the CBS owned and operated television station that broadcasts in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The video continues to record while Aviles is on the ground, and he can be heard calling for his producer, Joan Gilbertson, to come over. According to CBS, Gilbertson was told by the policeman "You've been warned, or the same thing will happen to you. Or you're next."

The assignment manager at WCCO tweeted after the event some fascinating footage, which was apparently captured by Aviles inside the back of the police vehicle.

Commissioner of Corrections Paul Schnell called Aviles' arrest "regrettable" and said that because of the nature of the protests and police tactics, "it's difficult" to identify journalists. As you can hear from the footage, Aviles identifies himself clearly and was still arrested. These events come just days after CNN's Omar Jimenez was taken into police custody during a live broadcast. Jimenez also clearly identified himself to officers and was arrested nonetheless.

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David Butler II's picture

Do any of you posters own a camera? Have you ever taken a picture? Are your names real? I'm talking to Erpillar Bendy, T Lewis, The Noomer, Dale Karnegie. All of these names seem to be nothing but Trolls! My advise would be not to entertain their posts. I believe their only goal is to divide us. Check posters fstopperes account to see for yourselves if you think someone is just here to Troll and divide.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Standing up for this unlawfully arrested photojournalist is what you call "trolling"? Explain that. The Commissioner of Corrections called this specific arrest 'regrettable". Is he trolling too? If you want to "unite" around the concept of arresting journalists, then it's possible you've never heard of the U.S. Constitution, and there are some authoritarian governments that would happily welcome your support for the arrest of journalists.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Predictably, there is no reply from David Butler II. The questions must have been too difficult.

David Butler II's picture

Hi Bendy, If that's your real name. Unlike you I don't spend my life here on this message board so excuse me for not replying to your post. I stand by my words.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Oh look ... a reply, but still no answers to the questions. How predictable. As I wrote, the questions must have been too difficult.

David Butler II's picture

Go buy a camera Erpillar. Create something for heaven sake!

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Creating every day. Got six or seven cameras. And you still can't answer my questions.

Tony Clark's picture

Their orders are clearly, "Shoot first and ask questions later."

T Van's picture

The same city where at least one off duty police officer has been credibly accused of smashing windows during a riot, while trying to hide his identity.

Tony Clark's picture

Yes, there is a difference between wearing a mask to protect yourself from Covid19 and trying to conceal your identity. The person that smashed the Autozone's windows had an agenda and was in a hurry to leave.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Please, EVERY single incidence caught on video - sack the policeman involved, and then prosecute fully.

I'm thinking the only way to remove violent, racist and / or lunatic officers is to remove them from the force and replace with better.

We seem to have a mob mentality exhibited over and over again where self discipline goes out of the window and the attitude of "I've got a gun" takes over.

I speak as an outsider looking in from the UK, so I have no political beef here - just what I see over and over again.

We hold our police, our armies, our elected officials to higher standards than this and if they can't perform as such then remove them from their positions - now.

Deleted Account's picture

Enough with the "bad apples" nonsense. If that was real, it'd be happening in all the other countries where it doesn't.

These guys re doing what they've been trained and told to do - it's time to address the fact that the United States wants literal thugs in uniform.

Vegar Øyfoss's picture

Yeah. That's what you get when the average length of police training on the US is 18 weeks if I am not mistaken.
In my country, Norway, it's 3 years. Same in most European countries.

Richard Hitswater's picture

Welcome to bunker-baby donnie toe-tags fascist America.

Guy Butterworth's picture

Americans like to complain about Iran,Russia,china and South American countries, whilst regulary invading Middle Eastern countries on the basis that they are run by dictators and have poor human rights records . from what we are seeing happening in the US . this country is far far worse ... police violence is out of control, normal people are being beaten , murdered and killed or shot for nothing more than for exercising their constitutional rights .... Maybe the Middle East should invade the US to "librate its people " from "their" despot dicktator, who's only policy it seems is to not letting the American people or the American constitutional stop him from him "making America great again".... how is America any different from ussr between the 60-90s or china or any other country run by. a racist nut job and long term corrupt establishment ,... America you are a laughing stock to the world and at the same time we are totally disgusted with the abhorrent behaviour we are seeing ..

Rick Knight's picture


Simon Patterson's picture

I can safely say that I cannot fathom how US politics works, from the glimpses I see in the media. Seems to be a nation almost completely impotent when it comes to caring about people, although there is no doubt many caring individuals there. Most things I see from the USA cause me to simply shake my head.

I hope the people of the USA can find a way to heal together, rather than continuing to the tragic implosion it seems to be careening towards.

Milenko Đilas's picture

Dear Americans, can you now imagine what your army is doing to people around the world?!

Deleted Account's picture

Seeing things this way often comes with becoming a pariah and sometimes far worse. Being vocal about it (even on social media) means that you're going to have a hard time finding work outside those who agree with you.

People who are on the extreme end of this while simultaneously being far too vocal can end up diagnosed as being "detached from reality", in a grand gesture of irony akin to what the USSR used to do to dissenters.

Now can you imagine why most people choose not to?