ACLU, Goyette win critical protections for Minnesota journalists in the field

The Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists applauds the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and journalist Jared Goyette for their work securing an indefinite ban on law enforcement agencies using force against journalists.

U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright’s preliminary injunction Thursday came in response to a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Goyette. The preliminary injunction will remain in place at least until the lawsuit’s resolution.

The lawsuit details assaults and arrests by officers against journalists, including Goyette, reporting on civil unrest in the Twin Cities after George Floyd’s murder. Evidence suggests officers continued the attacks despite journalists clearly identifying themselves.

Freedom of the press is a fundamental right protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Agencies tasked with upholding laws need to recognize its importance by instructing officers on the constitutional rights of the press.

Journalists in Minnesota and elsewhere need to know they can safely do their jobs without fear of being targeted. We expect the judge’s order will provide more protections for journalists, and we thank the ACLU and Goyette for their hard work.