Tim Pool, an independent journalist, decided that it was time to call it quits while covering the riots in Milwaukee.
“For those that are perceivable white it is just not safe to be here, and that’s why I’m deciding to leave,” he said.
Pool noted, in his video explaining to his viewers why he was wrapping up his trip, that he is in fact Korean but explained that “most people down here don’t make that conclusion, they just looked at me and they start saying things about white people.”
BuzzFeed has been reporting on the race-based incidents targeting reporters that have been taking place following the police shooting of 23-year-old Sylville Smith. Attacks on BuzzFeed reporters include people yelling, “f**k off,” asking, “What the f**k’s that white guy doing here?” and throwing rocks.
According to BuzzFeed:
Protesters also threatened a number of journalists, particularly white reporters. Near a police line, angry men promised to “beat your white ass” and warned to “get the f**k out of here.” A small rock was thrown at a BuzzFeed News reporter.
Later in the evening, a group of men in a large SUV followed a BuzzFeed News correspondent to a hotel north of downtown Milwaukee. At a red light, three men jumped out of their Chevrolet Suburban and began rushing toward the car. After a brief car chase through a neighborhood he arrived safely back at his hotel where an armed guard was stationed and the SUV drove off.
A.J. Bayatpour, a reporter for Milwaukee Fox affiliate WITI, tweeted that he was threatened as gunshots were fired just 15 feet away. George Stanley of the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel told BuzzFeed News his paper was sending reporters out in groups and “instructing them to put safety first.”
Pool said, at the beginning, he assumed the outrage the protesters were expressing towards journalists was simply because they were journalists. He admits to having gotten reports that “white people were being attacked by crowds,” but even then, the rapidly growing racial tensions and present dangers were not apparent to Pool until an 18-year-old white boy was “shot in the neck.”
Pool witnessed various other attacks before the boy was shot, stating in his YouTube video that “things started to get really tense when people started screaming ‘f**k white people,' ‘white people suck.’”
“A reporter was grabbed by some locals and threatened and told to leave... Another reporter was smacked upside the head by a local who then tried to rally people to come and attack us.”
He compared his experience covering the protests in Ferguson, Mo. to what he was observing in Milwaukee, stating, “In Ferguson, people were angry with the police, and they were mad with what the police were doing as an institution... Here in Milwaukee, it was just if you are a different race, we’re mad at you.”
Pool stated, “this is not everybody in the community, this is not every person who’s protesting or nearly any of the locals who are, you know, angry with white people or maybe targeting them or directing their hate in that direction."
"But there’s enough people who are screaming things about white people and reporters are being attacked, and then hearing that it was a white kid that got shot, that I think, you know, for those who are perceivably white, it is just not safe to be here," he continued.
Whether that is true or not, we know this: If you’re white and live in Milwaukee, even if you are a supporter of Black Lives Matter, the New Black Panthers, or any other similar movements, you have officially been labeled the enemy and are now a target.