Law enforcement in Minneapolis Saturday used tear gas, rubber bullets and other tactics to clear the streets of protesters over the police-involved killing of George Floyd.
Two NBC correspondents covering the Minneapolis protests got caught up in the unfolding drama when police descended on the demonstrators they were marching with.
Ali Velshi was heading north from the city’s Fifth Police Precinct with one group when their path was suddenly cut off by officers and national guardsmen who opened fire with tear gas followed by rubber bullets.
“I got hit,” Ali Velshi said as he reached down to rub his left knee while the camera suddenly cut away.
Velshi later said that he wasn’t seriously hurt.
Minneapolis has played host to several days of rage as protesters furious about the death of Floyd at the hands of police have paralyzed the city with huge demonstrations that have, at times, exploded into violence.
Moments earlier, Velshi had told viewers that they had not had any confrontations with police officers and that the protests that day had been peaceful.
But when they reached the intersection of East Franklin and Nicolette Avenues things turned ugly.
“There was no warning whatsoever,” Velshi said as the tear gas canisters began flying and smoke filled the air. “They came in and started shooting.”
Then Velshi could be heard coughing and the camera cut away the first time.
When the camera returned, Velshi began explaining that they’d be caught not wearing their gas mask and then suddenly grabbed his left knee.
Meanwhile, NBC News’ Morgan Chesky was with another group of demonstrators near the precinct when a large group of police officers suddenly began chasing them and a flashbang went off near the correspondent and sent him and everybody else around him moving.
“Keep going back!” Chesky, wearing a gas mask with a visor, told his crew.
With police closing in on the fleeing demonstrators, one woman could be heard yelling “Don’t shoot” as more flash bangs went off.
Chesky continued trying to describe what was happening and noted that they were being pursued by a large group of police and that they were gaining on them.
“Press! Press!” Chesky yelled moments later as whoever is manning the camera appeared to be jostled. “Are we still live?”