ACLU Files Lawsuit In Minnesota Alleging Police Attacks Against Journalists
The American Civil Liberties Union is filing a class-action lawsuit against Minnesota’s state and local law enforcement officials to “ensure that police officers who target journalists are held fully accountable for their unlawful actions.”
The ACLU argues that although they are clearly identifying themselves as members of the press, “journalists have become conspicuous targets for arrest, intimidation, and assault by police officers” while covering ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality.
The organization cited several examples:
CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested by a Minnesota State Patrol officer during a live broadcast, “despite the journalists repeatedly having offered to comply with police and asking where they could move.”
Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske and photographer Carolyn Cole “were chased by Minnesota State Patrol officers, tear-gassed, and shot at with rubber bullets, even though both were wearing their press credentials and they identified themselves as journalists.”
KTSP reporter Ryan Raiche and his producer were among a group of credentialed journalists who were pepper-sprayed by police officers while pinned against a wall.
Therefore, the ACLU of Minnesota has filed this lawsuit, as “these attacks violate the press’s clearly established First Amendment right to report on public protests and police activities.”
The ACLU argues that officers who participate in these attacks are “[striking] at the root of our democracy” and “must be held accountable for their actions to the fullest extent of the law.”
Furthermore, the ACLU argues that senior law enforcement officials have made excuses and “failed to establish necessary guidelines, trainings, and disciplinary protocols to ensure that attacks on journalists are treated with zero tolerance.”
The ACLU said it is determined to ensure that “officers are held accountable for their unlawful actions” and plans to file more lawsuits on this topic in other states across the country.
Written by Megan Everts.