U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

CNN producer thrown to the ground, arrested while covering protests in Brooklyn Center

Incident Details

Date of Incident
April 13, 2021

Arrest/Criminal Charge

Arresting Authority
Minnesota State Patrol
Unnecessary use of force?


Was the journalist targeted?
April 13, 2021

CNN producer Carolyn Sung was thrown to the ground and arrested by Minnesota State Patrol troopers while documenting protests in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 13, 2021.

Demonstrators had gathered in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department to demand justice in the killing of Daunte Wright, a Black man, who was fatally shot by a white police officer on April 11.

According to a letter sent by attorneys to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and other local officials and signed by more than two dozen news and advocacy organizations, Sung had been attempting to comply with a dispersal order when “troopers grabbed Sung by her backpack and threw her to the ground, zip-tying her hands behind her back.”

“Sung did not resist and repeatedly identified herself as a journalist working for CNN and showed her credentials,” the letter continued. Troopers also reportedly ignored her complaints that the zip ties were too tight on her wrists.

At one point, the letter alleges, a trooper yelled at Sung, “Do you speak English?”

“Sung, whose primary language is English, was placed in a prisoner-transport bus and sent to the Hennepin County Jail, where she 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,” the letter said.

The letter also stated that a security guard accompanying Sung was briefly detained, but was released upon showing his credentials.

CNN’s public relations office declined to make Sung available for comment, and the Minnesota State Patrol did not respond to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s emailed request for comment as of press time. The status of her arrest and any charges remain unknown.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documents journalists assaulted, arrested, struck by crowd-control ammunition or tear gas or who had their equipment damaged in the course of reporting. Find all incidents related to Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests here.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].