Police violently arrests CNN producer, reportedly asked ‘Do you speak English?’
Multiple journalists and media professionals have been assaulted during the Minneapolis protests over the police killing of Daunte Wright.
An attorney representing dozens of news outlets has issued a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) to address the treatment of journalists and media professionals by law enforcement while covering protests over the police killing of Daunte Wright.
According to HuffPost, lawyer Leita Walker spoke on behalf of almost 30 journalism and news organizations with detailed accounts of mistreatment. Shared on Twitter by CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter, the letter was also addressed to Commissioner John Harrington, Colonel Matt Langer, and Commissioner Paul Schnell.
The detainment and arrest of CNN producer Carolyn Sung are described in detail. Police officers reportedly grabbed her backpack and threw her to the ground. According to the report, she did not resist and displayed her credentials, repeatedly identifying herself as a member of the press. Still, officers placed her under arrest. Sung was yelled at by an officer who commanded “Do you speak English?” as she complained her wrist zip-ties were too tight.
“She was patted down and searched by a female officer who put her hands down Sung’s pants and in her bra, fingerprinted, electronically body-scanned, and ordered to strip and put on an orange uniform before attorneys working on her behalf were able to locate her and secure her release, a process that took more than two hours,” the letter said.
According to Huffpost, a male security guard sent with Sung was briefly detained and released once he showed his credentials. Sung, however, was taken to Hennepin County Jail in a prisoner transport bus.
The outlet reported on the same night, a journalist for the New York Times was repeatedly hit by police who surrounded his car. According to the report, the officers attempted to break his camera. In a separate incident, another journalist, freelance photographer Tim Evans claimed an officer punched him in the face and tore off his press badge, while another officer smashed his head into the ground. He was placed in handcuffs before another officer let him go.
Walz was sent the letter after a phone conference with the attorney and law enforcement officials on Saturday.
“Journalists must be allowed to safely cover protests and civil unrest. I’ve directed our law enforcement partners to make changes that will help ensure journalists do not face barriers to doing their jobs,” he tweeted after the phone meeting.
theGrio reported on April 11 that the National Guard was deployed to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota after hundreds of protesters gathered over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. The incident occurred about 10 miles from where now-former police officer Derek Chauvin‘s trial for murdering George Floyd closed on Monday.
“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told CNN affiliate WCCO. “A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot.”
Her son’s death brought out hundreds of demonstrators following his death who marched toward the police department expressing their fury over yet another officer-involved killing of an unarmed Black man. CNN affiliate KARE captured footage of protesters swarming around police cars, with some attempting to damage the vehicles. Authorities also tracked calls about shots fired, break-ins, and property damage in multiple areas, including Minneapolis.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott issued a curfew from 11 p.m. CT on Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
“Please ensure you are getting home in a timely manner before the curfew goes into effect,” he tweeted.
At least 100 people were arrested during protests after Brooklyn Center Police Department declared the demonstrations unlawful. CNN reported Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner Harrington claimed an estimated 500 people became disorderly. He said demonstrators carried sheets of plywood, shields, containers of a liquid believed to be bleach, and baseball bats.
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