DULUTH – A supporter of Donald Trump attacked a photojournalist covering protests near the president's rally Wednesday, punching a phone out of the videographer's hand while it was recording.
WCCO-TV aired footage from photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun, who was taking video of a man confronting presidential candidate Joe Biden supporters gathered near Duluth's airport before Trump's campaign visit, the station reported.
"You guys want to be peaceful? Be peaceful. You want to be violent? Come to me," the man said, turning to punch Chhoun's phone.
Duluth police, who are investigating the incident, said Chhoun was unhurt and his phone was not damaged.
Police said Chhoun was filming the man arguing with a woman at the protest near the intersection of Airport Road and Venture Avenue around 6 p.m. Once he realized he was being recorded, the man — who had been in a truck with Trump signs, according to police and media outlets — approached Chhoun and knocked his phone to the ground.
Chhoun was born in a Thai refugee camp after his family fled Cambodia. In elementary school he moved to Minnesota, where he became a U.S. citizen and attended college. His assignment manager, Guy Still, on Twitter condemned the attack and called Chhoun "a true American patriot."
"Today, when there is breaking news, or a chaotic situation, he is often the first to volunteer to get into the heart of the action," Still wrote of Chhoun. "He does this not for glory or notoriety, but out of a sense of duty and a commitment to share the stories which are challenging to cover."
A police spokesperson said no evidence indicates the episode was racially motivated. The suspect left before the incident was reported.