Journalists Say Police Ignore Judge's Order at Protests

Photographer reports being beaten by officers
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2021 4:00 PM CDT
Journalists Say Police Ignore Judge's Order at Protests
Law enforcement officers clear an area of demonstrators during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in suburban Minneapolis say officers have harassed and assaulted them despite a federal order to leave them alone. US District Judge Wilhelmina Wright issued a temporary restraining order Friday prohibiting police at the protests in Brooklyn Center from arresting journalists or using force against them, including flash-bang grenades, nonlethal projectiles, pepper spray and batons, unless they know the person committed a crime. The order also prohibits police from forcing reporters to disperse along with the rest of the crowd and from seizing their equipment, the AP reports. But USA Today videographer Jasper Colt tweeted that he and other reporters were forced to lie on their stomachs Friday evening while police photographed them and their credentials before letting them leave.

Freelance photographer Tim Evans said officers surrounded protesters after a 10pm curfew passed. They charged into the crowd and started pepper-spraying and tackling people, he said. Evans said one officer punched him in the face and tore off his credentials, forced him onto his stomach and pressed a knee into his back. "I was yelling 'press.' He said he didn't care and to shut the (expletive) up," Evans said, adding that another officer came over and smashed his head into the ground. He was zip-tied before a third officer freed him and let him leave. Other journalists posted photos and videos online showing police detaining them while checking their credentials, and in at least one case spraying chemical irritants. "We are extremely troubled by how the media is being treated and have repeatedly shared those concerns with the authorities," said Suki Dardarian, senior managing editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

(More Daunte Wright stories.)

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