A CNN reporter and camera crew who were covering the protests against George Floyd’s murder by police in Minneapolis were arrested by Minnesota state officers on live television. On Friday (May 29th) morning, reporter Omar Jimenez was taken into police custody along with members of his crew, and was held there for over an hour before they were released.
The Minnesota State Patrol made a statement indicating that, “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.” However, footage shows that this account is simply untrue. “This is not accurate,” CNN responded. “Our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists.”
“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 network said in another statement shortly after the arrest. “The authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.” Gov. Tim Walz later apologized and indicated that the arrests should not have happened in the first place.
Following his release, Omar Jimenez told his CNN colleagues that he and his crew, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, were trying to move out of the officers way while they were conducting arrests. However, a protestor had run by them and was arrested, which somehow led to their arrests as well, despite identifying themselves as media. “There was no animosity there; they weren’t violent with me,” Omar said of the arresting officers. He indicated that one officer told him, “I’m just following orders.” Another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, was also approached by police while covering the protests, but was not arrested. “I identified myself,” Josh, who is a white man, recalled. “They said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area.’ I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was.”
On Friday morning around 8:45am CT, Omar tweeted a photo of himself reporting to the camera, while police guarded the Target store that was looted by protestors late Wednesday (May 27th) night in the background. “And we’re back,” he captioned the photo.