ACLU files lawsuit on behalf of Minnesota journalists over ‘targeting’ News
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ACLU files lawsuit on behalf of Minnesota journalists over ‘targeting’

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday asking a Minnesota court to stop “unconstitutional conduct targeting journalists.” The complaint lists detailed violations the Minneapolis Police Department and State Patrol have allegedly committed against members of the media.

In response to George Floyd’s death, there have been protests in major cities throughout the US demanding justice in the fight against institutional racism that has existed in policing. Some of these protests turned violent and destructive, resulting in governors issuing curfews. However, members of the media were exempt from these curfew orders. Despite this exemption the Minneapolis Police Department and Minneapolis State Patrol allegedly subjected members of the media to “threatening, spraying chemical irritants, and firing less-lethal ballistics designed for riot control,” even after identifying themselves as media personnel. Most notably, a member of CNN’s new crew was arrested on Friday by Minnesota State Police on live TV.

As a result of the mistreatment of the media, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sent a letter to Minnesota Authorities stating:

Law enforcement officers do not have legal immunity when they violate clearly established rights under the First Amendment The right of the press to document police activity is foundational to our democracy and has long been recognized and protected by the courts. Beyond, however, the Constitution and the law, any targeting of reporters for ding their jobs—keeping the public informed during an extraordinary period of civil unrest—is beyond the pale in a free society.

The ACLU intends to file similar suits across the country.