Minneapolis riot police arrest CNN crew reporting live on George Floyd protest
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said the arrest was “totally unacceptable and totally inadvertent”.by Gráinne Ní Aodha
CNN REPORTER OMAR Jimenez has been arrested live on air while delivering a report on demonstrations calling for action to be taken over the death of George Floyd.
Jimenez’s producer and cameraman were also arrested. Initial reports indicate that Jimenez was arrested for not moving back from the scene.
Prior to the arrest, Jimenez appears to discuss with riot police live on air where they would like the crew to move to, and is then arrested.
“We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here,” Jimenez can be heard saying before his arrest. “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.”
CNN said that its president Jeff Zucker spoke to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz regarding the incident.
In a statement read out on air, CNN said the governor told the broadcaster he “deeply apologises for what happened”.
It said the governor is “working to have the CNN team released immediately”.
“It was totally unacceptable and totally inadvertent what happened. They clearly had the right to be there, the CNN team,” Walz is reported to have told Zucker.
“We want the media there to cover this. It is never acceptable for this to happen, the governor accepts full responsibility.”
Last night, protesters set fire to a Minneapolis police station on what is now the third night of protests over the death of a black man after a police officer knelt on his throat.
Numerous demonstrations have been organised in recent days by those angered at a video showing 46-year-old George Floyd’s arrest by police, using the his last words “I can’t breathe” as a rallying cry.
CNN released the following statement after the incident:
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…
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“The authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
Another CNN reporter Josh Campbell, who also was in the area but not standing with the on-air crew, said that he was also approached by police, but was allowed to remain.
“I identified myself … they said, ‘Ok, you’re permitted to be in the area,’” Campbell said, who is white. “I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was.”
Minnesota State Patrol also confirmed the release of the three CNN staff in a statement this afternoon.
“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,” they said.
“The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
With reporting by Hayley Halpin