Police zip-tied journalist and asked: 'Do you speak English?'
A CNN producer and journalist says she was wrongfully arrested, humiliated and manhandled by Minnesota police on April 13. Carolyn Sung, who is Asian-American was covering the Daunte Wright protests when the incident occurred.
According to her attorney Leita Walker, Ms. Sung was not only wrongfully arrested, but was the victim of racial discrimination as well.
“As Sung tried to leave the area as directed, troopers grabbed Sung by her backpack and threw her to the ground, zip-tying her hands behind her back,” the attorney stated in a letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. “Despite repeatedly hearing Sung identify herself as a member of the press and tell the troopers that the zip ties were too tight on her wrists, one trooper yelled at Sung, ‘Do you speak English?’”
“Despite repeatedly hearing Sung identify herself as a member of the press and tell the troopers that the zip ties were too tight on her wrists, one trooper yelled at Sung, ‘Do you speak English?’”
Ms Sung speaks English fluently.
In the letter outlining the day's events, Walker explains that her client was then taken to jail, “where she was patted down and searched by a female officer who put her hands down Sung’s pants and in her bra, fingerprinted, electronically body-scanned, and ordered to strip and put on an orange uniform.” It was over two hours in the slammer before Sung's lawyers were able to negotiate her release.
Read the full letter here.
Governor Walz met with Ms. Walker and other members of the press who are also calling for change, on April 17. He responded that he is in agreement that something must be done and is working to solve the problem.
“Journalists must be allowed to safely cover protests and civil unrest,” Mr Walz said in a tweet. “I’ve directed our law enforcement partners to make changes that will help ensure journalists do not face barriers to doing their jobs.”
“Journalists must be allowed to safely cover protests and civil unrest. I’ve directed our law enforcement partners to make changes that will help ensure journalists do not face barriers to doing their jobs.” - Governor Tim Walz
Charges of racism add to an already tense community that is suspicious of the police
First Amendment violations cited in arrest of journalist
Reliable Sources and CNN host Brian Selter tweeted “Unrest is no excuse for First Amendment violations.”
On Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that forbade Minnesota state police from arresting journalists or using force against them. Following the order, the Minnesota State Patrol continued to defend its conduct. It also denied that it had even arrested any journalists.
“While journalists have been detained and released during enforcement actions after providing credentials, no journalists have been arrested,” the police force said in a statement. “The Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) has and will continue to respect the rights of the media to cover protest activity.”
The killing of Daunte Wright has inflamed already tense police and community relations. Just 10 miles away from the location of the Derek Chauvin trial, protesters have made their outrage known following Wright's killing. Derek Chauvin is the officer who kept his knee on Minneapolis citizen George Floyd's neck for over nine minutes. Mr. Floyd was subsequently pronounced dead. Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.
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What to do if you witness a hate incident
In an article on Today, the following advice is provided for those who want to know what to do in the event of witnessing a hate incident.
- Distract: The intent of creating a distraction is to de-escalate the situation and create an environment in which the harasser feels excluded and will hopefully recede into the distance.
- Delegate: Delegation requires bringing in someone else to help, often someone in charge of the establishment, another bystander or an authority figure.
- Document: Take a photo or video of the incident and be sure to note where you are located and the time of day the incident is occurring.
- Delay: After it is over, someone should check in with the person experiencing the harassment and make an offer of how you can support them.
- Direct: You have the option of addressing the assailant directly with a remark as simple as “Stop doing that!”