Embattled Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is under fire for his handling of the protests on May 29, 2020, and for specifically causing the loss of an eye by journalist Lina Tirado. She claims police ignored her press credentials and targeted her with a rubber bullet hitting her in her left eye socket.
She also claims that police then did nothing to help her, and it was protestors that got her to an ambulance to be transported to the hospital where doctors told her that her eye was permanently destroyed. The injury to her left eye will also leave her with no depth perception and other vision difficulties.
The incident happened on the first night of curfew imposed after protests turned violent, and Tirado alleges that she informed police that she had press credentials, and they targeted her anyway.
Call for Banning Rubber Bullets
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that since the protests began, over 20 people have suffered traumatic eye injuries from rubber bullets fired by police. The report says that it’s likely that most of the injured will lose their eye or have some degree of vision loss because of the bullets.
Regardless of how this lawsuit turns out, it won’t be the end for the city of Minneapolis as other journalists have filed lawsuits due to their injuries and alleged violation of civil rights. The allegations against the police by journalists include charges that police specifically targeted journalists in retaliation for their reporting.
In one case, a police officer allegedly pointed a loaded gun at journalists even after acknowledging their credentials and observing that they were clearly engaged in reporting duties.
The ACLU is bringing a lawsuit on behalf of a freelance journalist, Jared Goyette who claims he was also shot with a rubber bullet when he was walking with a notepad, camera and monopod.
If these journalists prevail in their suit, they hope that it will make things safer for protestors and other journalists and bring about a ban on rubber bullets