A CNN Reporter Covering The Minneapolis Protests Was Arrested On Live TV
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a statement apologizing for the incident.
May 29, 2020 at 7:54 pm
A CNN reporter, who was arrested while doing his job during the protests in Minneapolis, went back to work a few hours later. Omar Jimenez announced his return on Twitter, posting a picture of himself in front of the camera and saying "we're back."
According to CNN, Jimenez and his team, including his photographer and producer, were arrested shortly after 6 a.m.while reporting from downtown Minneapolis, where a police precinct building was burning. In the live broadcast, Jimenez identifies himself and tells police he is willing to move back if needed.
And we’re back pic.twitter.com/dkYHYxe0u7— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 29, 2020
"We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here," the reporter told police. "Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way — wherever you want us [we'll] get out of your way."
The live video then shows police arresting Jimenez while he's still reporting. Police later told CNN that the journalists were detained because they didn't move when told to do so.
"We're doing OK, now. There were a few uneasy moments there," Jimenez said after being released.
The Minneapolis State Patrol said the three CNN employees "were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media."
"In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew," the state patrol said in a statement.
In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) May 29, 2020
CNN defended its employees in a statement on Twitter.
"This is not accurate — our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew," the company wrote.
This is not accurate - our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew. https://t.co/3cvtsqbbWz— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 29, 2020
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also issued a statement apologizing for the incident. According to CNN, Walz said he "deeply apologizes for what happened and would work to have the crew released."
Another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, said he was also in the area during the arrests, but police allowed him to remain.
"I identified myself ... they said, 'OK, you're permitted to be in the area,'" Campbell said. "I was treated much differently than [Jimenez] was."
CNN noted that Campbell is white while Jimenez is Black and Latino. The other two crew members who were arrested are white and Hispanic.
Charles Ramsey, a CNN law enforcement analyst, said "state police are going to have a lot to answer for this arrest here."
"[Jimenez is] standing there ... you can see his credential. Just move him where you want to be," Ramsey said. "They should have a designated [media] area, and just tell them to move to that area."
CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers said, "you almost have to laugh not to just be furious."
"We have a white reporter on the ground, and we have a brown reporter on the ground. They are a block apart. The brown reporter is arrested and the white reporter is telling us what's happening," Sellers said. "We saw a reporter who is educated, who is brown, who is doing his job better than anybody ... (who) was in harm's way, letting the American people see what's going on, on the ground. He complied. He said he would move."
The National Association of Black Journalists spoke out about the incident.
“It was unnecessary, and a violation of the first amendment,” the group stated.
They were handcuffed and led away by state police during a live shot even after @OmarJimenez identified himself as a @CNN reporter. “It was unnecessary, and a violation of the first amendment,” said @Dorothy4NABJ. Read our statement here: https://t.co/2kROrxlvyL pic.twitter.com/FGJBW8kAHI— NABJ Headquarters (@NABJ) May 29, 2020
According to NBC News, the American Civil Liberties Union has also condemned the arrest.
"Journalists should never be arrested in this country for doing their job," the organization stated. "People are in the streets of Minneapolis demanding racial justice, and the public has a right to see it. Public transparency is absolutely necessary for police accountability."