Minnesota police arrest CNN's Omar Jimenez and his camera crew on live TVby Peter Weber
As dawn broke Friday on Minneapolis, Minnesota State Patrol officers in riot gear had managed to clear the area around the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct station, breached and set ablaze Thursday night amid protests against the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in police custody. But that's not the story anymore. CNN's Omar Jimenez was reporting on the new calm in the area when the police came up and arrested him, handcuffed him, and led him away. They did not give a reason. The cameras were broadcasting live to CNN's New Day.
"That is an American television reporter, Omar Jimenez, being led away by police officers," marveled New Day's John Berman. Then police arrested the rest of the crew, one by one, with the camera rolling. "Our CNN camera crew and our producer are being arrested right now on live television, in handcuffs," said Alisyn Camerota. "I've never seen anything like this, Alisyn," Berman said. One officer then carried the camera off to the side, apparently unaware that it was still broadcasting on international cable news.
"The police are now saying they're being arrested because they were told to move and didn't," Berman finally reported. "Now, we were on the air the whole time," he added, and the police did not seem to have told them to move.
The protests are against the lack of arrests after a white officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for about eight minutes, even as he repeatedly said he couldn't breath. If Minnesota police are trying to tamp down anger over police racial bias, overreach, and lack of accountability, arresting a black reported on TV probably won't help.