At President Donald Trump’s Wednesday night rally in Duluth, Minnesota, a photojournalist at local CBS 4 WCCO was attacked by one of Trump’s supporters, WCCO assignment editor Guy Still reported.
The rally was Trump’s first since his rancorous debate with Joe Biden the night before, and featured Trump’s usual braggadocio, attacks on the media and a chant of “lock her up,” directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. About 3,000 people attended, Heavy reported.
Photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun, however, encountered a Trump fan outside the event, who hit the camera phone from his hands when Chhoun tried to film the man, who was confronting a group of Biden supporters outside the event, the station reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Man Said, ‘You Wanna Be Peaceful? Be Peaceful. You Wanna Be Violent? Come to me …’ Before Hitting the Reporter’s Camera
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
Chhoun’s video begins with him walking behind the Trump supporter, who appears to be in his 60s or 70s, filming as the man continues a rant that apparently began off-camera.
“You wanna be peaceful? Be peaceful,” the man says over his shoulder. “You wanna be violent? Come to me and I’ll …”
Then, he smacks camera out of Chhoun’s hand. A WCCO anchor said that Chhoun had identified himself as media and was filming the goings-on outside the rally when the man turned violent. When Chhoun picks the camera up, another Trump supporter approaches and holds a campaign sign up, blocking the view.
Chhoun was not hurt, but the station reported the incident to the police, they said.
WCCO anchor Esme Murphy said she was “outraged” by the incident.
“I am so thankful he was not hurt,” she said. “The venom must stop. Our photojournalists are our truest storytellers, and this video tells an important, sad and terrifying one.”
Assignment Editor Guy Still Called the Trump Supporter a ‘Knucklehead’ & Said That Chhoun Often Puts Himself in Tense Situations for Stories
I was the one who assigned him to this story & he agreed without hesitation, as always. pic.twitter.com/3LH4pViz1t
— Guy Still (@mplstvguy) October 1, 2020
Guy Still said on Twitter Thursday morning that he was the person who assigned Chhoun the Trump rally to cover. “He agreed without hesitation, as always,” Still added.
In the ensuing thread, Still praised Chhoun’s work ethic and willingness to put himself in harm’s way to get a story. He also related the story of Chhoun’s story of migrating to the United States from Cambodia and overcoming a tough childhood, getting his citizenship, then graduating college.
“Today, when there is breaking news or a chaotic situation, he is often the first to volunteer to get into the heart of the action,” Still said of Chhoun. “He does this not for glory or notoriety, but out of a sense of duty and a commitment to share the stories which are challenging to cover.”
Chhoun also got support from other local journalists as the story spread on Twitter.
I went to UMN w/ @Dymanh and had many classes w/ him while interning for @WCCO–he is the epitome of character and class when it comes to news coverage. Plus he's an amazing human. I hope he feels the love coming at him from around the world. I never forgot my time with him!
— Allie Delury (@Alliedelury) October 1, 2020
I went to [University of Minnesota] with [Chhoun] and had so many classes with him while interning for WCCO,” reporter Allie DeLury said. “He is the epitome of character and class when it comes to news coverage. Plus, he’s an amazing human. I hope he feels the love coming at him from around the world. I never forgot my time with him.”
Fox 5 Atlanta reporter Randy Travis said, “Proud you’re part of the profession that protects our freedoms, [Chhoun].”
The Duluth Police Department told Heavy in a statement that they took a report of the incident and were looking into it.
“The male who hit the phone left without incident several minutes before this event was reported to officers,” a spokeswoman said. “There were no injuries or property damage reported in connection with this incident and no citations issued at this time. The Duluth Police Department is investigating this case.”
Anyone with information on the incident can call the police department at (218) 730-5020, she added.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to Heavy’s request for comment.