Seattle photographer Alex Garland has added a lot to CHS news coverage of Capitol Hill over the years. Last summer, Garland, as usual, found himself in the middle of an important neighborhood news story and, as usual, he got the picture.
But as gunfire rang out in a crowd of hundreds of people and dozens of police and National Guard troops in a June protest at 11th and Pine, Garland’s role became much more than photojournalist as he moved to quickly render aid to Dan Gregory, an unarmed Black Lives Matter protester shot as he tried to disarm Nikolas Fernandez, the brother of an East Precinct officer, after Fernandez drove into a demonstration crowd at 11th and Pine.
This week, the National Press Photographers Association recognized Garland with its Humanitarian Award as part of its 2020 honors:
On June 7, 2020, Garland, a freelance photographer, reporter and writer, was photographing a protest against police brutality and racism in Seattle. Garland was closeby when Dan Gregory was shot in the arm as he attempted to stop the driver of a vehicle that appeared to be heading towards a throng of protesters.
“I care deeply about documenting the moment, but ultimately I see myself as a community member as much as a journalist,” Garland writes about the moment at 11th and Pine when he decided he needed to put aside his camera and act.
“It was a combination of training, experience, and preparation that allowed me to act when Dan Gregory was shot while attempting to stop someone from driving into a crowd of protesters. Knowing the sound of gunfire, having the skills to act, and being in the right place at the right time put me at Dan’s side within seconds of the shot,” said Garland, who graduated with a degree in Emergency Administration and Disaster Planning from the University of North Texas and carries a trauma kit in his bag.
“After working with street medics to find an exit wound and seeing there was none, I made the call to tourniquet Dan’s arm as even a small bullet fragment can open an artery,” Garland writes. “After Dan got to his feet and street medics were helping him to an ambulance, I picked up my role as a journalist once again and asked for an interview. Helping to render aid came before journalism, and that feels right to me.”
“Garland’s quick actions may have saved Gregory’s life, and reminds us that we are human beings first and photographers second,” the NPPA says of its selection of the photographer for the honor.
You can see Garland’s pictures and video from the day in CHS’s coverage of the shooting here.
Gregory, meanwhile, has physically recovered from his injuries and has remained an active leader in the Black Lives Matter efforts in Seattle. Garland photographed him again here as Seattle activists marked 150 days of protest in the city.
Fernandez has claimed self-defense and pleaded not guilty to first degree assault in the case.