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Retired ISP vet sues Minnesota State Patrol for arrest as CNN security during protests

The lawsuit was filed in federal court last Thursday on behalf of Michael Cooper, a 64-year-old retired veteran of the Illinois State Police.
People set a fire during continued protest Friday, May 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests...
People set a fire during continued protest Friday, May 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. Protests continued following the death of George Floyd, who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.((Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo))
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Black man who worked as a security guard for a CNN crew covering protests in Minneapolis following George Floyd’s death last summer is suing two Minnesota State Patrol officers, accusing them of violating his civil rights and unlawful detention, his attorneys announced Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court last Thursday on behalf of Michael Cooper, a 64-year-old retired veteran of the Illinois State Police. Cooper was jailed for nearly 20 hours on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and violating a curfew, but he was never charged, the complaint says.

The lawsuit says Cooper was jailed even though he had a CNN press credential and a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm, and even though journalists were exempt from the curfew imposed during the unrest.

Cooper’s arrest followed the arrests of a Black CNN reporter at the protests one day earlier. CNN hired Cooper to protect its news crews after that incident. White journalists who were nearby were not arrested after either incident, the complaint said.

The lawsuit names a state trooper and a State Patrol official who Cooper’s attorneys believe is a captain. A State Patrol spokesman was checking on a response.

Cooper is being represented by the firm of civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represents the Floyd family. Cooper is seeking over $1 million in damages. CNN is not a party to the case.

“How many times will the country need to see this script play out, where a Black man is treated differently by police than other people in the same situation?” attorney Christopher O’Neal said in a statement.

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