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Lawsuit: Photographer alleges Phoenix police violated freedom of the press during protest

Photog injured during Phoenix protest
Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 01:24:45-04

PHOENIX — A professional photographer is suing the Phoenix Police Department after being seriously hurt by rubber bullets during massive street protests last May.

Tommy Machowicz, a freelance photographer, was documenting the May 30 protest. Hundreds of people marched through Phoenix streets calling for reforms after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.

Machowicz filed a federal lawsuit last month claiming violations of freedom of the press, excessive force, and negligence.

Previously, he told ABC15 he was trying to move away from an escalating situation in front of Phoenix Police Headquarters.

That’s when one or more officers took aim at Machowicz, and he was hit three times in the back and head with large rubber projectiles.

The photographer said he sustained a concussion, bruised lung, and was bleeding heavily from the head.

Members of the crowd saw the photographer lying alone in the middle of the street. They pulled him to safety and called out for a medic to tend to his wounds. When no one came for several minutes, ABC15 reporter Melissa Blasius, who was nearby, made a plea on live TV for medical help for the man.

Eventually, bystanders were allowed to approach the police barricade and pass the injured man off to first responders.

Machowicz is seeking compensation for his medical expenses and lost wages, and other damages.