U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist subpoenaed in connection with blinded photojournalist’s lawsuit

Incident Details

June 2, 2022 - Update

Subpoenas dropped following settlement in blinded photojournalist’s lawsuit

The City of Minneapolis’ subpoena against journalist Jared Goyette was rendered moot after the city agreed to a settlement in the lawsuit on May 26, 2022.

The lawsuit was brought by independent photojournalist Linda Tirado, who was struck by a rubber bullet amid protests in May 2020 and permanently blinded in one eye. The city subpoenaed Goyette and two other journalists in March 2022, ordering them to produce a broad range of materials and communications relating to their coverage of protests following the police killing of George Floyd. The Reformer filed a motion to quash the subpoena on March 28.

According to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, the parties reached a tentative settlement on May 17, and the Minneapolis City Council agreed to pay Tirado $600,000 on May 26.

The parties filed a joint motion to dismiss the case on June 2; by concluding the court proceedings, the subpoenas were rendered moot. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has changed the subpoena status to “dropped.”

March 18, 2022

The City of Minneapolis issued journalist Jared Goyette a subpoena on March 18, 2022, in connection with a pending lawsuit against the city and multiple law enforcement officials.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that three journalists were ordered to produce a broad range of materials and communications relating to their coverage of protests following the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The subpoenas were filed in connection with an excessive use of force lawsuit filed by freelance photojournalist Linda Tirado, who was permanently blinded in one eye after police shot her with a crowd-control munition on May 29.

Goyette, who was a freelance journalist at the time and now works for Fox 9, declined to comment further than confirming to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was one of the three journalists subpoenaed. He is also a plaintiff in a separate class-action suit against the city and law enforcement, which recently reached a partial settlement with Minnesota State Patrol.

According to the Star Tribune, the subpoenas order the journalists to produce any images or documents pertaining to their coverage of the protests from May 26-31, 2020, and any communications they may have had with Tirado or her legal counsel, excepting anything that he has “a good faith basis to assert is protected by a legally recognized journalistic privilege.” The journalists were also ordered to appear for depositions via Zoom videoconferencing in late March.

The journalists were each also asked for materials related to their own injuries from projectiles that struck them while covering the protests sparked by Floyd’s death. Goyette was struck in the eye with a crowd-control munition while covering protests on May 27. The Tracker has documented that incident here.

According to MPR News, the city issued similar subpoenas to Andy Mannix of the Star Tribune and Max Nesterak of the Minnesota Reformer.

In a statement shared with the Tracker, the City Attorney’s Office said: “The individuals subpoenaed were identified by Plaintiff Linda Tirado as having information relevant to her claims.

“It is incumbent upon the City Attorney’s Office, as it would be any attorney, to obtain information relevant to their client’s case, whether or not the individuals possessing that information happen to be journalists.”

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