Skip to main content

ACLU sues Minneapolis PD over actions against journalists covering George Floyd protests

The lawsuit says police pepper-sprayed and threatened journalists, among other things.
Image from iOS (48)

The ACLU of Minnesota has filed a lawsuit on behalf of journalists who covered the protests over the killing of George Floyd, saying law enforcement deliberately targeted journalists, according to a news release.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota overnight Tuesday, names the city of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, police union head Bob Kroll, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington and Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer. 

According to the lawsuit, in the week after Floyd's death on May 25, the Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol "tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, shot in the face with rubber bullets, arrested without cause, and threatened journalists at gunpoint" after journalists identified themselves while covering the protests in the Twin Cities. In one instance, a journalist was left partially blind. 

The lawsuit says police fired ballistic rounds, markers and tear gas without warnings or orders for dispersal.

Law enforcement is using violence and threats to deter the media from vigorously reporting on demonstrations and the conduct of police in public places,” ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson said in a statement. “We depend on a free press to hold the police and government accountable for its actions, especially at a time like this when police have brutally murdered one of our community members, and we must ensure that justice is done. Our community, especially people of color, already have a hard time trusting police and government. Targeting journalists erodes that public trust even further.”

Jared Goyette, a freelance journalist who has contributed to the Minnesota Reformer, is named as the main plaintiff in the lawsuit. He was documenting protesters' efforts to shield and help a black man who was injured when police fired a projectile at his face, the ACLU-MN says.

“Journalists aren’t the only victims,” Goyette said in the release. “Actions like this make protesters, people trying to advocate for change, more vulnerable because journalists provide a witness and police are aware of that. Without journalists there, police or other people in power can feel a sense of impunity that no one will see what’s happening anyway. Everyone needs to know people are watching.”

The lawsuit says Minneapolis police have a history of "unconstitutional actions" against journalists and display a "failure" to train, supervise, investigate and discipline officers on journalists' due process violations.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction to stop law enforcement from "attacking and targeting journalists, now and in the future," the release said. It also seeks a declaration that police conduct violated the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and damages.

In addition to this lawsuit, the ACLU-MN is looking into legal options to "stop police brutality against protesters and POC organizers," the release said.

BMTN has reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department for comment.

Next Up


Hospital chiefs say nursing strike will come at 'worst possible time'

A nurses union announced an almost three-week strike to take place in the Twin Cities.


Sven Sundgaard: What's in store for MN's weather in December?

Sundgaard recaps Minnesota's fall and looks ahead to December.


Manure spill in Wisconsin leads to hours-long main street disruption

The spill was first reported just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.


Ice Cube to perform 2 nights at Mystic Lake Casino

The rapper hasn't performed in Minnesota since 2018.


Nicollet Mall's new Ties Lounge & Rooftop closes 'indefinitely'

The establishment aimed to reconnect the downtown community.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.15.44 AM

Chinese restaurant closing after 50 years in Columbia Heights

The beloved family-owned restaurant will close Dec. 24.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.43.40 AM

Kris Laudien leaving KARE 11 after four years on 'Sunrise'

KARE 11 announced the appointment of Jason Hackett to the morning show this week.


MN's COVID update for the week ending Tuesday, Nov. 29

There are now more than 570 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota.


Twin Cities nurses to strike for 20 days starting Dec. 11

A strike in Duluth and Two Harbors doesn't have an end date set.


George Floyd

ACLU protester lawsuit against Minneapolis, MPD will move forward

A federal judge denied motions to dismiss the suit.

3rd Precinct

ACLU of Minnesota sues city, state leaders on behalf of protesters

The lawsuit alleges law enforcement violated protesters' constitutional rights during the unrest following the killing of George Floyd.

Image from iOS (48)

Journalist blinded in one eye while covering MN protests sues police

The Tennessee-based journalist was in Minneapolis covering the protests.

38th and Chicago George Floyd Memorial

Crowds gather for festival, day of action at George Floyd Square

The People's Power Love Fest kicked off with door knocking to gain additional support for an effort to change the police department.

town talk diner

Restaurant sues Minneapolis, claims it allowed destruction after Floyd's death

This lawsuit is the first one against Mayor Frey and the City of Minneapolis for property damage related to the civil unrest last summer.

George Floyd

51 arrested in Minneapolis protests after Chauvin is released from prison

The former officer charged in George Floyd's death posted bond Wednesday and was released, prompting the largely peaceful protests in Minneapolis.

George Floyd

'Protest against evil': Memorial for Floyd centers on push for change

Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy for the service, which hundreds attended.

Image from iOS (48)

LIVE UPDATES: Night six of the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis

The National Guard is once again being deployed on city streets.