A CNN reporter and his production crew were arrested in Minneapolis on Friday morning during a live broadcast about the ongoing protests over the officer who publicly executed George Floyd, a black man and a father of two children. They were later released from custody over an hour after the arrest. Another CNN reporter was arrested at a different venue while his white colleague was not.
CNN said news correspondent Omar Jimenez and his team were arrested because they allegedly didn’t heed a police request to move.
“A CNN reporter and 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, including the governor, must release the three CNN employees immediately,” CNN said in a statement before they were released.
A video shows Jimenez, who is black and Latino, holding up his badge and attempting to identify himself as reporter before an officer grabbed him and then cuffed him.
“We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. … 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,” Jimenez said before he was led away.
“We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection,” Jimenez added.
New York Daily reported that “officers ran toward crew — which also included producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez — around 5 a.m. local time. They’d been attempting to arrest a protester as the CNN news team provided an on-air update on protests sparked by the death of Floyd, who repeatedly said he could not breathe while an officer knelt down on the back of his neck.”
CNN said another correspondent, who was not reporting in the same area was treated much differently than Jimenez.
“A black reporter from CNN was arrested while legally covering the protests in Minneapolis. A white reporter also on the ground was not,” the news station said.
CNN’s Josh Campell, who also was in the area but not standing with the on-air crew, said he, too, was approached by police, but was allowed to remain.
“I identified myself … they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area,’” recounted Campbell, who is white. “I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was.”
The incident prompted an immediate apology from Gov. Tim Walz, who told CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker that he is working to have the CNN crew released immediately.