George Floyd protests: Police arrest black CNN reporter Omar Jimenez live on air


A CNN crew was arrested on live TV by a riot squad while covering the protests over the police death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Incredible footage shows armed officers from the Minnesota State Patrol handcuffing reporter Omar Jimenez after they told him to move and he calmly asked them where he should stand.

The black reporter had just shown a protester being arrested close to a police station that was torched overnight when about half a dozen white officers surrounded him.

His white colleague, reporter Josh Campbell, was covering the same protest and said he was treated well by police and not arrested.

Mr Jimenez was detained with his producer and camera operator as fires burned around them in a scene of carnage in the US city.

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CNN reporter Omar Jimenez is handcuffed by officers from Minnesota State Patrol (Image: CNN)

A police officer took the camera away from the crew and it was still rolling as it was placed on the ground.

Viewers and CNN swiftly condemned the arrests, with Minnesota state Senator Kari Dziedzic tweeting: "Why are you arresting @CNN reporters. They were moving back and asking where do you want us to move. I was watching live on the air. They were cooperating."

She then said she called the Minnesota State Patrol and Department of Public Safety to explain why the crew was detained, adding: "This is not acceptable."

A CNN spokesperson called for their immediate release, saying the crew was arrested "for doing their jobs despite identifying themselves" and their First Amendment rights had been violated.
The CNN reporter is led away in handcuffs on live TV (Image: CNN)
Mr Jimenez is covering the protests in Minneapolis for CNN (Image: CNN)

The Minnesota State Patrol claims the crew members were arrested because they were told to move and didn't.

The black reporter had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers surrounded him.

Mr Jimenez calmly identified himself as a journalist and asked the officers where his crew should stand to continue covering the scene at about 5.10am on Friday after a third night of clashes between police and protesters, arson, looting and vandalism

The journalist showed his press credentials to the officers.
State patrol officers were brought in to help to restore order in the US city (Image: CNN)

"We can move back to where you like," he told the officers wearing gas masks and face shields, before explaining that he
and his crew were members of the press.

He added: We can move back to where you'd like here. We are live on the air at the moment.

"This is the four of us. We are one team.

"Just put us back where you want us. We're getting out of your way. So, just let us know.

"Wherever you'd want us, we will go.

"We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.

"Let us know and we've got you."

Mr Jimenez is then told "you are under arrest" and he calmly asks: "Why am I under arrest, sir?"

He was handcuffed and led away as viewers watched in shock.

Camera operator Leonel Mendez and producer Bill Kirkos were also handcuffed and taken into custody as the camera continued to roll.

CNN and journalists rushed to the defence of Mr Jimenez and his crew, saying he was wrongfully arrested.

A CNN spokesperson tweeted: "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 reporter was detained along with a producer and camera operator (Image: CNN)
Mr Jimenez showed the officers his press credentials before he was handcuffed (Image: CNN)

"The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately."

CNN presenter Hala Gorani tweeted: "Our reporter @OmarJimenez was just arrested live on #CNN while covering protests in Minneapolis. He identified himself as a journalist and asked where he and his crew should stand to continue working."

Viewers hit out at the fact that Mr Jimenez was detained as he covered the protests, but the four Minneapolis Police Department officers involved in the arrest that led to Mr Floyd's death have not been arrested or charged.

They also questioned why Mr Jimenez was arrested and his white colleague was not.
Police officers wearing riot gear stand guard amid protests in Minneapolis (Image: CNN)
Mr Jimenez's white colleague, Josh Campbell, was not arrested

One wrote on Twitter: "CNN's @joshscampbell is a white reporter, reporting from the Minneapolis riots. He was left alone by the police.

"CNN's @OmarJimenez is a black reporter, reporting from the Minneapolis riots. He was just arrested.

"F*** this s***. #BlackLivesMatter #MinneapolisRiot."

Hours before his arrest, Mr Jimenez, who began working for CNN in 2017, tweeted: "The images out of Minneapolis right now are unbelievable. Thousands in the streets, a police precinct on fire, fireworks being fired into those flames.

"All while we wait on whether charges will be filed against the officers involved in the death of George Floyd."

His arrest came around the same time CBS News jornalist Jeff Pegues claimed National Guard troops were "firing tear gas at media".

State Patrol officers and National Guard troops were brought in by state Governor Tim Walz to help to restore order in the city, which is policed by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).

Four members of MPD were fired for their involvement in Mr Floyd's arrest.

The FBI is leading the criminal investigation into Mr Floyd's and none of the officers has been charged.