Two police officers stare down a hall with grafetti-covered walls.
The last frame of the recording video journalist Ignacio Rosaslanda made before police grabbed him from behind and pushed him to the ground. Rosaslanda was reporting on the police’s eviction of pro-Palestinian protesters occupying a building at the Humboldt University in Berlin on May 23, 2024. (Screenshot: Berliner Zeitung/YouTube)

German police launch criminal probe of video journalist after beating him during pro-Palestinian protest

Berlin, June 7, 2024—German authorities must swiftly and transparently investigate the recent police attack on video journalist Ignacio Rosaslanda, ensure the responsible police officers are held to account, and drop all criminal investigations against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

Police beat and detained Ignacio Rosaslanda, a video journalist for daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung, as he reported on police’s eviction of more than 150 pro-Palestinian protesters occupying a building at the Humboldt University in Berlin on May 23, according to news reports, a recording of the incident published by the outlet, and Rosaslanda, who spoke with CPJ. 

Police summoned Rosaslanda on Thursday, questioned him for three hours, and told the journalist he was being investigated for resisting police action, causing bodily harm to police, and trespassing. Rosaslanda told CPJ he denies the charges. If charged and convicted, Rosaslanda faces up to three years imprisonment, according to the criminal code

“German authorities must investigate the officers responsible for attacking video journalist Ignacio Rosaslanda while he was covering a pro-Palestinian encampment at the Humboldt University in Berlin,” said Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative. “Journalists must be allowed to cover events of public interest without police interference or fear that they will be charged for simply doing their jobs.”  

A man takes a mirror selfie in an elevator.
Video journalist Ignacio Rosaslanda wearing a press badge in the elevator before documenting the protest at Humboldt University in Berlin on May 23, 2024. (Photo: Ignacio Rosaslanda)

Rosaslanda, who was wearing press insignia and carrying a camera, was filming as police broke through barricades in the building to clear out protesters, according to the reports and the journalist. An officer assigned him a corner to film from, which he did until another officer grabbed him from behind and pushed him to the ground. In the recording, a helmeted officer repeatedly beat the journalist, hitting Rosaslanda twice in the head, as he repeatedly said, “I am press.” 

The journalist was handcuffed and detained with the protestors for around three or four hours before he was released. Rosaslanda was treated in an emergency room for multiple abrasions and hematomas over his left ear and on his face, chest, and left arm. 

Rosaslanda told CPJ he filed a criminal complaint against police for the attack and denial of treatment while detained but had not received any further updates as of Friday. A police spokesperson told Berliner Zeitung on May 30, that they had started investigating two officers on suspicion of assault, one in connection with an injured Berliner Zeitung journalist. 

A spokesperson for Berlin police told CPJ via email that they could not provide further details about the investigation due to privacy and data protection regulations.