U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Reporter subpoenaed in connection with blinded photojournalist’s lawsuit

Incident Details

Date of Incident
March 18, 2022

Subpoena/Legal Order

Legal Orders
Legal Order Target
Legal Order Venue

A portion of the subpoena issued to Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix, who was struck with a crowd-control munition while covering protests in Minnesota in May 2020.

June 2, 2022 - Update

Subpoenas dropped following settlement in blinded photojournalist’s lawsuit

The City of Minneapolis’ subpoena against Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix 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 Mannix 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 Star Tribune 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.

Mannix wrote on Twitter, “The settling of Tirado’s lawsuit means the city of Minneapolis will have to drop its absurd subpoenas against me and @maxnesterak, which requested my notes, images and the plastic bullet the police shot me with.”

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 Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix a subpoena on March 18, 2022, in connection with a pending lawsuit against the city and multiple law enforcement officials.

The Star Tribune reported that Mannix was one of three journalists 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.

Mannix declined to comment on advice from counsel.

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.

Mannix was also asked for materials related to his thigh injury from a projectile that struck him while he was covering protests on May 26, 2020, the day after Floyd’s death. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker documented that incident here.

According to MPR News, the city issued similar subpoenas to Max Nesterak of the Minnesota Reformer and Jared Goyette, who was a freelance journalist during the protests and now works for Fox 9.

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.”

Suki Dardarian, senior managing editor and vice president of the Star Tribune, said in a statement to the outlet, “We are reviewing the issue, but we expect to challenge the subpoena.”

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