You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Minnesota Police Zip-Tied Asian-American CNN Producer, Asked if She Spoke English, Says Lawyer

Newsweek logo Newsweek 4/19/2021 Julia Marnin
a group of people riding skis on a snowy road: State troopers arrest demonstrators during the sixth night of protests over the shooting death of Daunte Wright by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on April 16, 2021. - Police officer, Kim Potter, who shot dead Black 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after appearing to mistake her gun for her Taser was arrested April 14 on manslaughter charges. © Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images State troopers arrest demonstrators during the sixth night of protests over the shooting death of Daunte Wright by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on April 16, 2021. - Police officer, Kim Potter, who shot dead Black 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after appearing to mistake her gun for her Taser was arrested April 14 on manslaughter charges.

Asian-American CNN producer Carolyn Sung was reportedly thrown down, zip-tied and arrested by Minnesota state troopers last Tuesday evening while covering protests, and one trooper asked if she spoke English, her primary language, according to a letter by her lawyer Leita Walker.

Sung tried to comply with a police dispersal order and leave the Hennepin County area while covering protests over the death of Daunte Wright, 20, who was shot by police at a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center on April 11, and attempted to identify herself with her CNN credentials, but to no avail, Walker wrote on Saturday.

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

"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?,'" Walker's letter said, noting that Sung never resisted the police.

The letter, which was addressed to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and other state officials, alleged that Sung was placed in a prisoner-transport bus and sent to Hennepin County Jail, where she remained for more than two hours before attorneys could find her and secure her eventual release.

While in jail, Sung reportedly was patted down and searched by a female officer who put her hands down her pants and in her bra. Then she was fingerprinted and electronically body-scanned before being ordered to undress and change into an orange prison suit before her release.

Walker's letter said that Sung was initially grabbed by her backpack before being thrown to the ground and had her hands zip-tied behind her back. Meanwhile, a security agent hired by CNN to work with Sung was apparently also detained but was released upon showing his CNN credentials.

"This is horrifying. Minnesota Police wrongfully arrested CNN producer Carolyn Sung, refused to listen to her as she declared her credentials, zip tied her, and subjected her to anti-Asian rhetoric," Qasim Rashid, a human rights lawyer, tweeted on Sunday.

After a week of widespread civil unrest in his state, Walz tweeted Saturday evening, "A free press is foundational to our democracy. Reporters worked tirelessly during this tumultuous year to keep Minnesotans informed. I convened a meeting today with media and law enforcement to determine a better path forward to protect the journalists covering civil unrest."

In another tweet Saturday, the governor wrote, "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."

Walker's letter addressed Walz's meeting after it was over, saying her intention was to continue the dialogue surrounding law enforcement's mistreatment of journalists and to ensure what had occurred will never happen again. It was written on behalf of nearly 30 local and national news organizations and government transparency organizations, according to Walker.

"The First Amendment is clear: journalists have a robust right of access to gather and report the news without fear of intrusion or interference by law enforcement," Walker wrote.

The letter additionally pointed out that journalists covering protests over the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody have had similar experiences with Minnesota law enforcement.

The same day Sung was detained, Walker wrote that a photojournalist in Brooklyn Center was "tackled, put in restraints" and issued a summons, and in a separate incident, a New York Times journalist and others were assaulted.

Newsweek reached out for comment to Minnesota State Patrol, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and CNN's public relations department but did not hear back in time for publication.

Related Articles

Start your unlimited Newsweek trial

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Newsweek

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon