Fox News photojournalist and team detained while reporting on Brooklyn Center protest

April 14, 2021

Fox News national photojournalist Les Baker was briefly detained by police while reporting on a protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 14, 2021.

Baker was detained with Fox News producer Nick Rojas and correspondent Lauren Blanchard, a spokesperson for the network told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

Demonstrations were held several days in a row in Brooklyn Center, a city near Minneapolis, in response to the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop on April 11.

The Fox News team was reporting live from the Brooklyn Center protests for Fox affiliates, spokesperson Tessica Glancey said in an email. Glancey referred comment on the incident to Twitter posts made by Blanchard about being detained.

At 10:21 p.m., Blanchard wrote that police ordered the news crew to get out of their cars. “My crew and I were ordered out of cars and to the ground by police,” Blanchard wrote on Twitter. “They took photos of all of our credentials. After about 5 mins they let us back into our cars and let us leave. They had people all over on ground arresting as they went. We were not only media crew stopped.”

In a post on Instagram the next day, Blanchard wrote that her crew was stopped and ordered to get on the ground with their hands up, even though she tried repeatedly to tell law enforcement that they were members of the press.

Video included with the post shows multiple officers wearing fluorescent yellow jackets, helmets and large decals marked “state trooper” within the shape of the state of Minnesota approaching. One trooper says, “IDs please, press IDs please.”

Blanchard wrote that the troopers “scolded us for being there” and told them that journalists had been ordered to leave, though Blanchard said they did not hear that order.

Members of the media were exempt from the curfew order Gov. Tim Waltz issued on April 12 for four counties, including Hennepin County, where Brooklyn Center is located.

According to the spokesperson for Fox, the news team was fine and was able to continue reporting after they moved to a different area.

Minnesota State Patrol did not immediately respond to the Tracker’s request for comment.

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]

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