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Note of protest referred to US Department of State after incident with Russian reporter

Mikhail Turgiev and American journalists who were next to him were treated by the local police in an inadmissible way, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said
Russia’s embassy in the United States  Anatoliy Bochinin/TASS
Russia’s embassy in the United States
© Anatoliy Bochinin/TASS

WASHINGTON, May 31. /TASS/. Russia’s embassy in the United States has referred a note of protest to the US Department of State following the incident with Russian journalist Mikhail Turgiev when the Minneapolis police sprayed pepper aerosol in his face, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Sunday.

"Mikhail Turgiev and American journalists who were next to him were treated by the local police in an inadmissible way. As can be seen on video shot at the scene, the journalists identified themselves clearly and loudly. They had special marks on their clothes, showed their IDs and offered no resistance," the embassy’s press service quoted him as saying.

"A note of protest was referred to the Department of State following this flagrant incident. We demanded to conduct a thorough investigation [of the incident with journalist Mikhail Turgiev in #Minneapolis] and to inform the Embassy about its results," he said.

He noted with regret that "the US press is showing no signs of public empathy" following the incident. "Can we expect any objectivity when double standards are used even in respect of Russian journalists working in the United States?," he said.

"We will spare no effort to have this incident recorded by human rights organizations that monitor violations of journalists’ rights in the United States," he stressed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier it considers "the targeted spraying of pepper aerosol by Minneapolis police officers in the face of RIA Novosti correspondent Mikhail Turgiev as a manifestation of unreasonable brutality, despite identifying him as a journalist." The ministry pointed out to the US authorities’ international liabilities to ensure security and unimpeded work of journalists, the freedom of expression and equal access to information for all.

Mass protests and unrests broke out in Minnesota and several other US states after a video of George Floyd’s May 25 detention was posted online. Floyd, an African-American man, suspected of paying with fake money at a local shop, was handcuffed by a white police officer, who put him to the ground and pressed his knee firmly against the man’s neck. Floyd pleaded that he cannot breathe, but police paid no attention to that. Shortly after, Floyd died in hospital. The four police officers who arrested him were sacked on May 26. One of them - Derek Chauvin, the officer who had his knee on Floyd - was arrested on Friday afternoon and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Protests to demand justice for Floyd, which began in Minneapolis on May 26, grew into clashes with police, shop looting and arsons. A state of emergency has been declared in the city. Minnesota's National Guard was called to step in to "help provide security and restore safety.".