Ben Crump Law, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, and Newmark Storms Dworak LLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Michael Cooper, who was arrested while working as a security officer for the CNN crew covering the protests following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Michael Cooper, a 64-year-old retired Illinois State Police trooper, filed the suit against Minnesota State Patrol trooper Patrick Kelly and a Minnesota State Patrol trooper identified in the suit only as Jane Doe.
Cooper was working as a security officer for CNN’s broadcast team on May 30, 2020, when a member of the news team was shot by a rubber bullet and the whole team “encountered a barrage of tear gas,” the suit said.
Cooper suggested to the team that they “calmly” approach troopers, show them their press credentials, and ask how to safely exit the area, the suit said. Cooper then held his Illinois State Police credentials in the air and, with a producer, approached the troopers.
Cooper repeatedly said he was press, but the troopers ignored him and told him to walk backward, kneel, lay down and “place his arms straight out from his body with his palms facing straight up,” the suit said. Cooper complied.
Kelly and other troopers then knocked Cooper’s identification out of his hand and handcuffed him, the suit said. Cooper never resisted but explained that he was a member of the press and retired law enforcement.
He was handcuffed for at least an hour and a half and then booked into the Hennepin County’s Sheriff’s Office.
Doe had said Cooper was in violation of curfew, even though he tried to explain that press was exempt. He was booked on a violation of curfew and a carrying a concealed weapon charge without a permit, even though he had a permit to carry, the suit said.
Cooper was held at the jail for 20 hours before he was released. He was never formally charged.