ACLU suing police agencies over attacks on journalists

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Image by Andrys Stienstra from Pixabay

MINNEAPOLIS — The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Wednesday that they would be suing police departments over attacks on journalists covering the uprisings taking place across the country.

Journalists have been the target of police departments from across the country, ranging from arrest to firing at members of the press while they are working to cover the uprising.

From the ACLU’s announcement:

These apparently deliberate attacks on journalists violate the First Amendment freedom of the press, and they will not go unanswered. The ACLU of Minnesota 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.

We also plan to protect another of our essential First Amendment rights: the right to protest. We’re pursuing legal actions to stop police brutality against protesters and organizers.

Throughout the George Floyd protests, there have been numerous, well-documented instances of deliberate abuse against journalists by law enforcement officers. A Minnesota State Patrol officer arrested CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew 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. And police officers pepper-sprayed a group of visibly credentialed journalists, including KTSP reporter Ryan Raiche and his producer, as they were pinned against a wall.

And these are examples from Minnesota alone. The Reporters Committee for the Freedom the Press and the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker have identified numerous other instances of official abuse against journalists in cities across the country.

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