An unidentified man was captured on video assaulting an Asian American photojournalist during a Trump rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Sept. 30.
The attack: Photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun was on an assignment to gather reactions at the rally for local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV when the attack occurred, the station reported.
I am outraged by this violent attack on my @wcco colleague,friend &photojournalist @Dymanh in Duluth- I am so thankful he was not hurt. The venom must stop, our photojournalists are our truest storytellers &this video tells an important,sad & terrifying one. Thx Dymanh pic.twitter.com/9caREau3HS
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) October 1, 2020
- “You guys want to be peaceful? Be peaceful! You want to be violent? Come to me!” the assailant can be heard saying in the video captured on Chhoun’s phone.
- The Duluth Police said the unidentified man was arguing with a woman near Airport Road and Venture Avenue at around 6 p.m., Star Tribune reported.
- After he realized he was being recorded by Chhoun, the man immediately turned around and punched him, resulting in his phone being knocked from his hand.
- The man was reportedly confronting people who were also holding a rally for Joe Biden in the area.
The aftermath: The Duluth Police has launched an investigation after the incident was reported.
I was the one who assigned him to this story & he agreed without hesitation, as always. pic.twitter.com/3LH4pViz1t
— Guy Still (@mplstvguy) October 1, 2020
- The Duluth Police said no citations were issued at the time, according to Huffington Post.
- “A male reported that while recording footage on his phone for a news report, another male hit the phone out of the reporting party’s hand,” the statement reads. “The male who hit the phone left without incident several minutes before this event was reported to officers. There were no injuries or property damage reported in connection with this incident and no citations issued at this time. The Duluth Police Department is investigating this case.”
- A spokesperson for the police said there is no evidence that the attack was racially motivated, adding that the man left the scene before the assault was reported.
Who is Dymanh Chhoun: Chhoun was born in a Thailand refugee camp in 1986 after his parents fled the Khmer Rogue dictatorship in Cambodia, according to ThreeSixty Journalism, the non-profit program of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas.
- His family moved to Minnesota in 1993 and survived only on welfare and food stamps.
- They were able to buy their own house, a duplex, but had to leave after living there for nine years due to safety concerns.
- Chhoun then went to Minneapolis Roosevelt High School where he played football.
- He later attended Normandale Community College for two years and finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
- Before working at WCCO-TV, Chhoun worked for several news stations in Rochester and Duluth, as well as the Big Ten Network.