A photojournalist who was in Minneapolis to cover the unrest that followed the death of George Floyd is suing Minneapolis Police Department and the Minnesota State Patrol after she was blinded in one eye by a less-lethal bullet fired by police.
Linda Tirado, a Tennessee-based photographer who has spent years covering protests across the U.S., lost sight in her left eye after being shot while covering the unrest in Minneapolis on Friday, May 29.
A lawsuit filed in Hennepin County says Tirado was wearing a respirator and goggles, and had her press credential prominently displayed around her neck, and stepped in front of the protest line before aiming her camera "at the police officers to take a picture of the police line."
"Ignoring the press credential she wore around her neck, police officers marked her with a ballistic tracking round. Then, with a bright green target on her, the police shot her in her face with foam bullets," the suit says.
"Ms. Tirado felt an impact on the left side of her face and immediately felt blood gushing down her face and the burn of tear gas in her eyes. Ms. Tirado simultaneously realized that her goggles had been shattered by a projectile, and began crying out “I’m press! I’m press!” She stood there, blinded and bleeding. No law enforcement personnel tried to help her or attempted to provide aid.
"By the time protestors got her to the hospital, Ms. Tirado’s left eye was permanently destroyed."
The incident happened while under a curfew on Friday, May 29, though Gov. Tim Walz had proclaimed that journalists would be exempt from the curfew so they could be present to provide an account of the protests.
Tirado was one of several journalists injured, shot at, or arrested by law enforcement during the protests, with the Star Tribune's Andy Mannix suffering bruising from a rubber bullet, and others caught up in tear gas or mace deployments, while CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were taken into custody, as was a WCCO photographer.
The officer who shot the bullet at Tirado is not known, with the suit naming them "agents of Defendants City of Minneapolis and Minnesota State Patrol."
Named in the suit are the City of Minneapolis, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minnesota State Patrol Commander Col. Matthew Langer, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lt. Bob Kroll, and Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington.
Tirado's suit said police used the crowd control measures including tear gas and less-lethal rounds on peaceful protesters, "without warning or dispersal orders."