Minnesota State Patrol officers arrested CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and two members of his crew while they were broadcasting live from protests in Minneapolis on Friday morning’s “New Day.”
Jimenez, who was covering the demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, was placed in handcuffs and taken away just after 5 a.m. local time after politely telling officers the crew would go wherever they wanted them. A producer and a camera operator were also detained.
The camera continued rolling and broadcasting the whole time, even as it was taken away from the crew.
The crew was released around two hours later.
Check out the footage here:
Police initially told CNN that the journalists had been arrested “for not following orders to clear the street.”
Jimenez’s colleague Josh Campbell, who was elsewhere in the city covering the protests, was not arrested.
Campbell told “New Day” that his experience had been “the opposite of what Omar just experienced.” It “crossed my mind” it could have been because he is white and Jimenez is Black, Campbell said.
Check out the interview here:
“It didn’t make any sense to me,” law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey says about the arrest of a CNN team in Minneapolis who had clearly identified themselves as press. “…There’s no way something like that should occur.” https://t.co/caz6vZT4af pic.twitter.com/XCXsqU74iX— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
CNN had called for the release of its employees in a statement shared on Twitter.
“A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves ― a clear violation of their First Amendment rights,” it read. “The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves - a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 29, 2020
John Berman, the co-host of “New Day,” reported that CNN President Jeff Zucker had spoken to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and said the governor had apologized.
Walz took “full responsibility” for the incident, Berman reported.
Live now on CNN as reported by @JohnBerman: CNN president Jeff Zucker spoke to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz who apologized for State Police’s arrest of @OmarJimenez and our team. He is working to get them released. Walz said he takes full responsibility for what happened.— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 29, 2020
Upon his release, Jimenez suggested there’d been “a little bit of confusion” from police about where the crew was allowed to be, with everyone “on edge” because of the destruction that has been caused to the city.
The arresting officers were “pretty cordial,” said Jimenez. They talked about “how crazy” the week had been, he said, and he asked for guidance on where the crew should be while reporting on future demonstrations.
What gave him “a little bit of comfort,” was “knowing that you guys saw what was happening,” he added.“I was living what was happening and the country was seeing what was happening unfold in real-time before their eyes.”
Check out Jimenez’s comments here:
Minnesota State Patrol later posted on Twitter that the CNN crew was released “once they were confirmed to be members of the media.” That claim drew scorn from other tweeters, who noted Jimenez had already shown the state troopers his credentials.
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 also refuted the police claim.
“This is not accurate ― our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists,” the network said 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. https://t.co/3cvtsqbbWz— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 29, 2020
Floyd, a Black man, died in Minneapolis on Monday after a police officer knelt on his neck, sparking protests that have now spread nationwide. Four officers have been fired, but no criminal charges have been filed.
Demonstrators in Minneapolis have clashed with police officers and torched buildings.
Viewers and Jimenez’s colleagues expressed shock at the scene:
My colleague @OmarJimenez, reporting calmly and cooperatively, was just arrested on live television along with his crew.— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 29, 2020
The Minnesota State Patrol just arrested my colleague @CNN correspondent @OmarJimenez and his team for doing their job. Reporting the news. His camera is still rolling as it sits on the ground in #Minneapolis — see it on @NewDayCNN now.— Poppy Harlow (@PoppyHarlowCNN) May 29, 2020
Wow. Police in Minneapolis just arrested @OmarJimenez live on CNN. What is going on?? Our camera crew and Omar's producer also now being arrested.— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 29, 2020
Man they just arrested @OmarJimenez live on tv.— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) May 29, 2020