Matt Miller, a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation, did not know that he would be threatened and forced to flee when he went downtown to cover protests and riots early Monday in Washington.
Rioters set cars on fire and looted businesses in protest of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
“The city was in complete chaos last night,” Miller, 23, told the DCNF on Monday. He and several other Daily Caller reporters covered the protests and riots through the early hours of Monday. “I think so far, last night was the most violent and contentious we’ve seen in D.C.”
Between midnight and 12:30 a.m., Miller was approached by a protester about three blocks from the White House, he said.
Video footage from the incident shows the protester threatening Miller, saying, “I know you are with The Daily Caller, and you can either leave right now or I will tell people.”
Miller asked him, “Are you threatening me?” to which the protester responded, “No, I’m just telling you what I’m going to do.”
Daily Caller reporter @mattmiller757 was threatened by a protester in Washington D.C.
“I know you’re with the Daily Caller. You can either leave or I’ll tell people.”
He was later chased by a group of people for three blocks. pic.twitter.com/T4AvpBUTVD
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 1, 2020
“I then tried to distance myself from him while still getting footage of the looters,” Miller said. “Seconds later he yelled something like ‘Daily Caller reporter over here, Fox News fascist.’”
“I was quickly surrounded by the rioters who began throwing water bottles and other projectiles at me while threatening me,” he said.
“I was unsure what to do, I didn’t know if I could outrun them or would have to scrap it out with them.”
As Miller tried to figure out what to do, a protester wearing a medic uniform approached him.
“Hey, I’ve seen mob violence before, you need to run right now,” Miller said the protester told him. The protester ushered him down the street before Miller “took off sprinting.” A group of about 20 rioters followed him, Miller said.
“I was pursued for about two blocks before they gave up and I heard one say ‘he’s not worth it,’” Miller said. “I ran to Dupont Circle, five to six blocks away from where I was.”
“There was a convoy of about four police cars with officers outside them right in the middle of Dupont, so I walked up toward them in case I was followed,” Miller added. “When I felt safe I called my dad and told him what happened to calm down. Then I called the other members of my team to make sure all were safe.”
Miller does not know how the protester identified him and his place of work, since Miller was wearing a black T-shirt as a mask at the time.
“No journalist deserves to be treated like this while reporting,” Miller said. “And this effort to suppress the media clearly outlines intent to commit criminal action, which many of the rioters were.”
“Safety for journalists should be upheld always, and when it isn’t, it is a huge red flag, in my opinion.”
Miller also emphasized how grateful he is to the protester who tried to assist him.
“I think it just goes to show even in the darkest places and the worst situations, good can be found,” the reporter added.
It remains unclear whether the protester who threatened Miller was with antifa. Miller, who has reported on antifa events in the past, said he has previously been identified by the left-wing group as a Daily Caller reporter.
“Antifa actively doxxes and threatens journalists, and he definitely looked the part,” Miller said of the protester. “He looked, sounded and smelled like antifa, but no, I can’t say for sure if that’s what he was.”
Antifa outed me to a mob of looters tonight. I sprinted 6 blocks to saftey after being surrounded and threatened by 15-20 “tough guys”. This is footage of the guy telling me he was a bout to dox me if i didnt leave. I ignored him and he shouted out who i work for. pic.twitter.com/CZdCyk8wWf
— Matthew Miller (@mattmiller757) June 1, 2020
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser suggested Monday morning that professional protesters from outside the city were responsible for the majority of the violence that occurred during the riots.
“We know that we have people that came here with tools and supplies, and they re-upped their supplies,” Bowser said. “So we think there was a mix of people here who do this type of protest and demonstration. We’ve seen some of these tactics before, so we know that they were among the groups here.”
President Donald Trump has suggested that anarchist groups such as antifa are using the protests to incite violence. On Sunday, the president tweeted that he will designate the radical left-wing group as a “terrorist organization.”
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Attorney General William Barr has also warned that “in many places it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by far-left extremist groups and anarchic groups using antifa-like tactics.”<
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