A Minnesota federal judge issued a restraining order prohibiting law enforcement officers from arresting or using physical violence to report on the Daunte Wright protests.
US District Judge Wilhelmina Wright issued the ruling on Friday and will remain in force for the next two weeks, according to the US government Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
The ruling prevents the police from using physical violence or chemical agents against the media. Law enforcement agencies cannot take away reporters’ press cards either, the order says.
The verdict is the result of an injunction issued by an international media union and a freelance journalist against John Harrington, Minnesota Public Safety Officer, and Matthew Langer, Colonel on the Minnesota State Patrol.
Journalists alleged in court that they were “ordered by law enforcement to evacuate the protest area, physically seized, hit by less lethal projectiles and rubber bullets, and sprayed with pepper”.
While journalists were not subject to curfew, they were forced to vacate areas where distribution orders were issued. The new ruling exempts journalists from such orders.
Although the Attorney General’s Office argued that dissemination orders protect journalists from harm, the judge dismissed that argument.
“That argument is absent, especially when you consider allegations backed by statements that law enforcement officials have suffered serious injuries in recent days,” Wright said.
“These serious injuries include bruising and at least one injury that requires surgery.”
On Friday, local media covered detailed reports of several journalists being stopped, detained and sometimes sprayed with pepper spray by law enforcement agencies while covering the demonstrations sparked by the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
An officer fatally shot the 20-year-old on Sunday during a traffic obstruction. The officer, whom officers claim was planning to use a taser when she shot Wright, has resigned and has been charged with second degree manslaughter.
#Daunte #Wright #Shooting #Judge #Minnesota #Officers #Arrest #Violence #Reporters