CNN producer asked if she speaks English during arrest in Minnesota, lawyer says

A lawyer representing journalists detained or allegedly mistreated while covering protests for racial justice in Minnesota over the last several weeks says an Asian American CNN producer was thrown to the ground by police and asked if she spoke English. 

Carolyn Sung was reportedly arrested on Tuesday while covering demonstrations in Hennepin County following the police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, an incident that came during the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd last year. 

Sung was attempting to comply with a dispersal order when Minnesota State Police grabbed her “by her backpack, threw her to the ground, zip-typing her hands behind her back,” according to her lawyer, Leita Walker. 

Sung did not resist, the lawyer said, adding that one of the troopers allegedly yelled “Do you speak English?” at her during her detainment. 

Walker made the allegations in a letter to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and other local officials sent over the weekend. Walker is representing several other journalists who she says have been mistreated by police while covering the civil unrest in Minnesota.

Once taken to the country jail, Sung 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 before attorneys working on her behalf were able to locate her and secure her release, a process that took more than two hours,” Walker’s letter states

Walz said on Saturday that he respects journalists’ right to cover protests freely without fear of arrest or intimidation. 

“A free press is foundational to our democracy. Reporters worked tirelessly during this tumultuous year to keep Minnesotans informed,” he said in a tweet. “I convened a meeting today with media and law enforcement to determine a better path forward to protect the journalists covering civil unrest.” 

In a separate tweet, Walz said he had “directed our law enforcement partners to make changes that will help ensure journalists do not face barriers to doing their jobs.” 

News of Sung’s alleged treatment was met with widespread condemnation from journalists at CNN and elsewhere across the media and political landscape over the weekend. 


Tags CNN Jake Tapper Mass media Minnesota State Patrol Tim Walz

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