Filmmakers harassed by counterdemonstrators
‘We’re just trying to document what’s going on,’ one says
Three men with cameras who documented an anti-Confederate march through Richmond on Saturday all described being harassed by marchers for filming.
Daniel Ledon of Henrico County, Logan Hinson of Roanoke and Vincent Cannizzaro of Richmond described themselves as freelance videographers and independent journalists who didn’t know one another before the march.
The afternoon march happened after many who gathered in the morning for a rally and counterprotest near the Robert E. Lee monument had left.
“One person spit at me,” said Cannizzaro, a store manager who does wedding videography. “They were trying to run me over with bicycles. They were just yelling at me, calling me a fascist, they were saying that I’m on the wrong side of history . ... I’m an independent journalist, aspiring journalist. I work for no one, I’m just trying to document what’s going on.”
The march went along Broad and Main streets, and ended near the Gen. J.E.B. Stuart monument.
Hinson said the antiConfederate protesters accused him of being with the media while he filmed, “saying that the media is fascist.”
“When we’re out here with cameras, we’re not trying to harm anybody’s reputation or trying to ruin anybody’s life, we’re just trying to document what’s going on,” he said.
Ledon said he was harassed by numerous marchers.
“They started walking up with their bikes, putting tires up in our faces, making threats at certain points, just using very vulgar language,” he said. “At the moment, I was a little worried. Thankfully, they never did anything, but I mean, it was a bit of a scary situation.”
Some members of the march carried banners that read “Sanctuary for all!” and “These f------ kill fascists.” An antifa flag was visible in the crowd. Antifa is short for anti-fascists, a description for far-leftleaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations.
The harassment came after a photojournalist from WTVR CBS6 was assaulted in Richmond while filming a similar march with his phone the night of Aug. 13, a day after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Someone hit him on the head with a blunt object, and he needed four staples to close the wound.
A journalist from political news outlet The Hill was punched in the face while filming in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.
Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said people need to remember that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place, and photography in public is protected expression.
“If you don’t want to be photographed or recorded, you should just stay home,” he said. “If you’re in the street expressing yourself and wanting to be able to march and protest and say and do things as long as they’re legal, you’re allowed to do that. And the same thing is true of the people who are photographing and recording them. It’s a public event. It’s a matter of public concern.”